James Douglas Stevenson

 

 

Jamie was always a marvellous storyteller.  He had a wealth of material, due to the extraordinary life he had led.  I am delighted that his family and friends persuaded him to write it all down.  He was happy to do this; glad to set the record straight.  And so began the 'Tights' thread on the PleasureDome.  Some people wondered at the title (Whatever became of 'tights'?), not realising that this had layers of meanings.  Foremost was the idea of criminal disguise; the stereotype of the rogue with the tights over his head to hide his appearance.  The story was to explain how and why he had drifted into that lifestyle, and why he had finally left it for good.

Some names, places, and chronology had to be altered to protect people.  But the essence of his life is unchanged.  Unfortunately, it soon became clear as he was posting it, that anyone who didn't know Jamie and how his mind worked could become lost in his unique and highly original style (or 'dopey gabberblasting', as he would have called it).  He needed an editor.  I happened to be in the right place, at the right time, and together we worked on an edited version, that he called 'Bubbles of Turbulent Delights'.  This is how we worked: he would write 'Tights' in chunks of around 700 words, and then I would take three of those chunks at a time and try to turn them into fluent, continuous prose.  I didn't always understand what he was saying, so emails would bounce back and forth as he explained and I re-wrote.  When we were both happy with a section, I would post it on the Dome in a parallel thread.

And so the story grew and grew.  There was interest from a mental health charity, with a view to possible future publication.  There was certainly interest on the Dome, where some members declared that the story was the main reason they were there.  His family and friends were able to read it in both versions; one, pure Jamie, and the other, almost a translation at times.  We had enormous fun working on this project.  But then, tragically, Jamie's health deteriorated.   It eventually became impossible for him to continue.  He was always longing to get back to his story, as the few posts he managed to make elsewhere in recent months made clear.

It was a great privilege and pleasure for me to be involved as editor.  Jamie's extraordinary creativity and originality as a writer shine through this work, both the original 'Tights' version and the 'Bubbles' re-working.  My own writing has been considerably enriched by the experience, for which I am deeply grateful.  I only wish he could have finished the story.  He has left us an unfinished masterpiece.

 

Catherine Edmunds

       

 

You can read 'Whatever Became of Tights' here

And 'Bubbles of Turbulent Delights' here

 

 

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