Dark Angels Note 85

Dearest Friends,

We have a treat for you. This week we catch up with author and Dark Angels co-founder, Jamie Jauncey.

1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now. 

I do very little paid writing these days, though I happen now to be updating the guidebook for Scone Palace, home to the Stone of Destiny, which I first wrote in 2004. It’s fun, combining history, art, architecture, landscape and so on. Where not running Dark Angels courses I’m mainly working on a part biography, part personal memoir around my great-great-uncle, RB Cunninghame Graham, a late 19th century politician, writer, horseman, adventurer and humanitarian who helped found the Labour Party. I’m hoping to have it finished by spring.


2. Can you recommend something for us to read?

A marvellous novel called This Is Happiness by Niall Williams: life in a remote Irish village about to receive electricity for the first time. A whimsical, funny, tender and uniquely Irish love story. Also The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes. A beautifully written, highly readable polemic on the iniquities of English class, land ownership and enclosure.


3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received?  

Elen Lewis introduced me to this wonderful observation from Emily Dickinson: ‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant’. So hard to do, so good when you pull it off (which I seldom do). And my two other favourites (as anyone who’s heard me burbling on on Dark Angels courses will know) – Robert Frost: ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader’; and EM Forster: ‘How do I know what I think until I see what I say’.


4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.

Two things: go for a walk (solvitur ambulando said Diogenes apparently, though he was Greek; or maybe it was Lewis Carroll; or perhaps various other famous people); and re-connect with the emotion in whatever you’re writing. If one doesn’t work, the other usually does – for me, anyway!


5. What’s your desert island book and why? 
A really good book on music theory. I’ve played semi-professionally all my life, but always by ear. I know a lot more now about what’s going on when I do what I do than I used to, but there are still enormous and lamentable gaps in my understanding. I might have to whittle myself a stick-flute or construct a coconut-shell marimba to figure out what I’m learning.


On behalf of Dark Angels everywhere, thank you Jamie – for this, and as Abba might say – for the music. It will be quite something to have you do what you do on a Dark Angels course soon.


Spring Foundation Course
You can join Jamie and others on a  four-week online version of our acclaimed Foundation Course. The course introduces and explores our core principles – great for first-timers and returners alike (see the website for more). It’s limited to eight places and will be led by Neil Baker and Jamie Jauncey, with spot visits by guest tutors from the Dark Angels family.

Two-hour sessions, twice a week, for one month:
Each Monday & Thursday, 7 to 31 March, UK 5.30-7.30pm
US East Coast 12.30-2.30pm
US West Coast 9.30am-11.30pm
Fee: £795, €895, $1095
Limited to eight placesSpread the love and refer a friend or colleague! If they sign up, you get 10% off your next workshop, course or retreat.
Need a refresher? There’s always something new to take from this Dark Angels classic. 10% off for returning Angels!

Drop Susanne an email to save your seat.


John & Jamie In Conversation (Save the Date)
Online Thursday, 3rd March 2022

Join us for an online conversation with John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey. Exclusive to Dark Angels, this will be a convivial gambol around the challenges, questions and stories that lie behind John’s book. More details to follow.


Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
Neil is back this Tuesday evening. This is a lovely hour of reading, writing and communing. Everyone is welcome; in fact invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on. 


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.. 

From everyone at Dark Angels


Also published on Medium.