Category Archives: New Leaf Network

The game-changing new way to (self)publish. ‘Self-publishing together’. Also a new vision for beauty in books – Kelmscott re-imagined for the 21st Century’.

School of Philosophy at the Ark – doors are open now

On the 2nd of January, the suppressed dream leapt out of my subconscious and blossomed into a vision which once let out into the sunlight of conscious thought has

(a) given me a migraine (helped by my foolish imbibing of a small glass of bubbly) and (b) lodged itself near the top of my pencil-scrawled  list of priorities for 2012.

Is there anything (for a eutopian philosopher) more important than helping others like himself get their own thinking, and thereby their lives, unstuck? How else can we overcome the doubter, cynic and nihilist within, and be part of the renaissance and defence of the True West?

So, defying the unworthy doubter (and craven budgeter) within my own breast, I am taking the first small steps towards such a glorious outcome. I will start a new blog i think, purely for the School. I will write a manifesto there, and forthwith open the doors of the Ark and the New Leaf hall for symposia (aka ‘classes’) – possibly Saturdays, possibly whenever folk can come. Overnight accommodation available if needed. If this excites you – as it ought to! 🙂 – do get in touch and plan to at least join the blog, and preferably come to the Ark and do some life-changing philosophy with us.

Also I am going to try making a donation button. In CASE you feel unaccountably and irrationally (or rationally) moved to donate to the cause of the school of (eutopian) philosophy based on the ‘Tree of Life’ process diagram and the enlightened tradition of the Peripatetics, i am first making a button for wizardgifts and the new (New Leaf?) School of Philosophy…

here goes:

YAY! it worked!? Test this button now by donating and make cultural history! 🙂

Although we (the philosophical ‘we’) are self-funding in principle, as we begin this there are setup and spreading-the-word costs, and I want to make it easy for you to support us in this early stage.

Also I want to test it for readers as they make their own blogs and websites to promote and/or sell their works. As a sufferer from tech-angst myself I am doing what i can to get the know-how here on this site – and link to other helpful sites. the instructions i am following are here:


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Duelling doglets and a school for getting unstuck

The threshold of the year 2012… what can I say honestly? To myself i say, gird up thy loins, it may be a hard one. But we can rejoice in all that is revealing love, beauty, truth or freedom in this world. What else to do otherwise, but give in to the darkness, or the fog, and let it seep into our souls?

Let’s be (crazy if necessary) candle-lighters this year.

We are (potentially) noble beings, the successful product of 4 million years of struggle, war and famine – and love and hope and learning. Let us go forth and make that dent in the universe we are more than ever before able to make! In the Balance, of course… 🙂

Why the title? Well this was my funniest photo from our short holiday in Gisborne staying with our daughter and her doglet honey, our Poppy’s baby of last year. We noticed the One Love caption on the fridge later…

One more thing before the comic relief. Yesterday i sat down to a reflective coffee bubble with Rae in the New Leaf hall and within a minute or two a totally new thought struck me – or an old thought struck me in a new context… I should start a school of philosophy. right here, this year, now. In between book design and new leaf and writing… It happened because rae was saying how getting unstuck is the tricky thing for her. I thought there are many things you could say but is there one algorithm that is fool-proof? if there is it must be in the realm of philosophy, because that is the study of what we can know and how we can know it, and how we can escape our present unknowing and our present pesuppositions which hold us to old thoughts and block us from having new thoughts.

I suddenly saw that my Tree of Life aspect theory of process has the key to this ‘problem of the Beginning’. i can get ANYONE unstuck using it. or their money back…:) And how can we defend the True West if we don’t know how to get our thoughts clear and get unstuck and act with wisdom and clarity and creativity?

Watch this space.

oh yes, the duelling doglets:

Duelling doglets under the One Love sticker

Happy New Year. And tell me what you think about the school of philosophy. Will anyone come? Should that stop me? at least i can write the getting your thoughts unstuck handbook and put it up here…


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The New Leaf logo “stable” versions

Well i am happy now! These should do. One for on-screen and one for on paper where all the black may be too much.

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website of New Leaf Network now live is all go now, so much of the stuff i talk about here will go to that site. the best New Leaf logo for on the web seems to be the one with the black background… So, moving on to next things, like how do you write a constitution that brings out all the best in people and diverts the rest?

while all this unfolds i am living in the Ark in ‘town’ – main road, kaiwaka that is… I felt uncentred or unaligned, until i moved the bed around to face along the ark instead of across. still working through the increased ‘exposure’ here and resisting urges to withdraw. ‘real life’, as martin buber said, ‘is meeting’ and i think he meant people, not just ideas… I think though it’s important to ‘meet’ your place, feel what it is and what it can be. The Ark can be more harmonious to live in with some changes… Also it needs its charter. is it to be the Ark of Books?

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New Leaf unfolding

Well this is the best so far, minor tweaks done.

The vision unfolds likewise, as more express interest – and even commitment to throw in their lot! The Ark Kaiwaka is now the focus of the first New Leaf Network group. the next meeting of the Blue Sheep writing group, Warkworth, will be held at the Ark, and focus on the bookmaking art and the New Leaf vision…

Thinking about the Ark and its vision, i wrote this at café Ginger after blue sheep writers group 1-10-11, and after getting Lavondyss at fleamarket. In that book there is a quote from walt whitman, from Darest Thou now, O soul:

Darest thou now, O soul,

Walk out with me toward the unknown region,

Where neither ground is for the feet nor any path to follow?


We grope towards the new way – a new synthesis of things.

The Ark of Books

A rainbow sign out the front,
Rooms full of books;
a talking, tea drinking room.
In the back, the New Leaf hall,
And facing west, the Fairy Garden.
Renaissance workshops down the steps at Mandy’s Place
And over the stream, Eutopia.

A new Kelmscott dawn
a rainbow of moving drops
a moving jigsaw of people
a league of extraordinary gentlepeople
a band of creators
a line of harvesters
a ring of rejoicers
an ark of seeking souls
sailing for new lands
into the long white cloud of unknowing.

We could have a deal to swap a box of unwanted books for a rebinding of the person’s favourite book.

Wwoofers cld man the ‘shop’, lend international flavour to it.

Could have one live-in caretaker

Sell new books printed in new leaf hall.

Book launch parties…

And of course bookmaking workshops.


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A New NEW Leaf for Self-Publishing

The New Leaf Network

New Leaf Network logo as at 22nd Sept 2011

(This logo is yet to be finalized – it’s a ‘rapid prototype’ i did. Rapid prototyping is a great thing for rapid evolving – ‘ready, fire, aim’!)

This is a new movement I am co-founding right now, whereby we writers totally, radically empower ourselves and –

1: Set up our own local printing and binding workshops where we profitably print and bind our own books to a high quality using simple, fast, inexpensive POD (print on demand) technology.

(Think 2 minutes and NZ$4 to make a 200 page paperback. The somewhat revolutionary seed knowledge for this is imparted to each group by me (Peter Harris, writer, inventor, builder of Café Eutopia, former owner of E-press POD). I will also share many techniques for limited edition bindings, including ‘burnt-edge’ books, embossed covers, acid-free etching, etc.)

2: Share,  ideas, knowledge, wisdom, inspiration and technologies for writing, promoting and selling our own works on the website (to be created with WordPress of course!)  and in a handbook. ‘Nobody is as smart as Everybody’.

3: Have unprecedented fun and satisfaction in creating beautiful books from our own writings, profitably and easily, sharing in a non-threatening context with others who follow the often lonely path of being a writer. (Think Kelmscott Press (William Morris) for the 21st century, making books that are beautiful like his but also affordable to the average person, and also making beautiful ebooks that anyone anywhere can download.)

4: Build a powerful shared expertise in self-publishing digitally (ebooks, videos and more) as well as physically in the scary new and  exciting global internet economy. (Meet your new Publisher – look in the mirror…)

5: Foster a new caring about Beauty (as well as Love, Truth and Freedom), with an (optional) ‘new Kelmscott’ style or imprint, which redesigns the printed book as a sacred artefact of high art and craft, not a mass-produced commodity; yet made with clever techniques to allow them to sell for a price accessible not just to the rich.

We are starting the first New Leaf workshop in Kaiwaka, Northland New Zealand where I (mostly) live. To find out more, email me at I’ve done a draft constitution and an illustrated manifesto which I can email you. And theres an email list you are welcome to join, of course! And very soon the website, beginning with a dedicated blog, at


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A New Leaf for publishing

Well sorry, i emailed this in and it didn’t appear, so i will repost it now i’m online in town where i can get onto wordpress sites… see the New NEW Leaf entry… it’s exciting.

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The book as sculptured temple.

This was my attempt to make a book as a carved ‘container’ for the content – the epic of Apples of Aeden. It meant inventing a way to carve the book edges. When all five volumes are at a stable stage i hope to do a limited edition set of five, presumably boxed… This method can be used on a normal-priced perfect-bound paperback, so it is not too expensive to make, though it is hand-finished. i sold all i got round to making of this limited edition (13 or so out of 999) at $95 retail in 2009.  (Normal paperback price was $35. If there was a LOTR in this style i would have been very tempted. Would you be?)


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Relating to the Sacredness of the Book

How do we relate to books? In lots of ways – emotionally, ritually, logically; by looking, touching, handling, listening, reading, viewing. Which are the most important? If we know the mix of values involved, we can change the presentation of the book and make a ‘blue ocean’ (see the book Blue Ocean Strategy 2005) of demand somewhere away from the status quo of the industry, which has been running itself into the ground as the web lets anyone publish anything for nothing if they go ebook. Now the ‘gatekeepers’ are overrun, and the physical bookstores are seemingly unable to profit when the inventory grows exponentially and the market fragments to match. The industry is being driven to digital.

We still love to touch books, keep them as physical things that never turn off. they are like sculptures, shrines to the content within, sacred objects, places we visit – portable temples. but we only need so many ‘temples’ – the rest can be digital. the ipad or other tablet device is a temple too – a temple to evolving variety – all conceivable content, past present and future. A bit like a portable cinema of words – and all the images and sounds and interactivity that can go along with the words.

If the form of a tablet could morph to match the content, that would be great. but at least for now we still want the book-as-object – for our favourite books anyway. Especially the romantic ones, like fantasies. 🙂 That’s where i come in! Make the Book a thing of beauty, magic, a sacred space to house and honour the content.

And maybe change the mix so it can be more affordable while still ‘limited edition’ and sacred.

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