Now, while I’ve still got a few good years ahead of me, I’d really rather it was sooner than later.
There is a small town in the South called Clermont l’Hérault. I liked it when I lived in France. I like it even more now and it’s a good time to buy property in France.
I could get a small apartment in Clermont for 85,000 euros – I can just about afford that, since I can’t get a mortgage.
I could walk to the shops and the market, sit in the cafés, lead a quiet, retired life and gradually dwindle away.
I could buy a three-story house with five bedrooms and lots of space that I have found in a lovely village called Aspiran only ten minutes away. For 125,000 euros. That’s much more exciting, and I’ve got a good idea what to do with it.
Two bedrooms would be reserved for travellers – Jupiter’s Travellers – who need somewhere to go to write their books or edit their films. And I could help them.
That’s the main thing.
I much prefer this version. I think I have something to offer, and I would not have to dwindle so quickly.
For many years now I have wanted to be more useful to Jupiter’s Travellers who return with wonderful experiences and observations to share with us. I have been forced to accept that my present home in Northern California is, ironically, just too remote and inaccessible, but the south of France will do very well.
I would relish the opportunity to share what knowledge and experience I have gained.
Also, I have persuaded my friends at InterFolio, who publish my books in Spanish and now in French, to make it their home too. That will help with the expenses, and the presence of publishers in the same house can only add to the creative mix.
For the next five years (maybe much longer) this can be a permanent retreat for the Travellers.
I would like your help to bring this about.
My problem is the missing 40,000 euros – or $50,000, or £30,000 – whatever your currency may be. I have a feeling that there are people who would want to contribute to make this plan possible.
To encourage you I would like to place on the doors of the Jupiter’s Travellers’ rooms a brass plaque to record your names.
There will certainly be room on each bedroom door for 20 brass plates, so anyone who can offer a thousand euros will get one. They will be NICE brass plates, at least four inches by two inches, and I will polish them myself whenever I get the chance.
For those whose enthusiasm is only limited by their resources, I will offer an honour roll of one big brass plate in the middle of the door, with their names on it. To be practical though, the minimum contribution will have to be 100 Euros if you want your name on the door. But if you don’t care about that, any amount at all will be most welcome.
If there should be someone able and willing to sponsor an entire room, then of course it will be named after that person, as in “The Donald Trump Room” (I think not!)
And finally, of course, it would be great to find someone with a lot of brass who will make the plates for me, including one for themselves.
So, please, contribute by pushing the Paypal button below.
Of course there will be details to work out but I don’t foresee any devils in them.
There will be no shortage, I imagine, of writers and others able to take advantage of the facility. We already have 111 Jupiter’s Travellers around the globe, all of whom would, in principle, be hoping to finish up with something to publish.
The house would belong to me: I see no sensible way around this, but I promise that all the money raised will be put to the use I have described. On my death, or in five years, whichever comes first, all the money raised will be given to the Foundation which will use it in the best way possible to keep this idea alive. I hope my reputation will allow you to take my word for that. Anyway, you will know where I live.
There isn’t a lot of time. I think the owners will keep the house for me for a month or two, so the deadline for the minimum 40,000 euros should be November 30. I’ll keep a tally, day by day on my web site and on Facebook. It’s going to be tough for me to keep my eyes off it.
How much is a Euro?
For the sake of simplicity we’ll stick to the following equivalents.
100 Euros – equals 75 Pounds – equals 120 Dollars
Who are Interfolio?
Some ten years ago, a young Spanish couple, Teresa Garcia and Angel Sanz, both with an insatiable love for books and for travel, decided to become publishers. Unable to afford advances to living authors they planned a series of books in Spanish by some of the world’s greatest explorers, like Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen and Ernest Shackleton.
With no capital, working out of their bedroom with part-time jobs, they spared nothing to make their books beautiful.
The books sold and were admired, but never enough to make any money. After a few years of hand-to-mouth existence they stumbled upon Jupiter’s Travels, which had once been published in Spanish by Grijalbo, and had long since gone out of print.
They commissioned (somehow) a new and better translation and with my permission published it. Amazingly, to them, for the first time they had a book that made a profit – and this in spite of the fact that they insisted on paying me more than the going rate for royalties.
By then we had already become firm friends and, needless to say, we have enjoyed each others’ company ever since.
Early this year, feeling that the Spanish reading public would never be able to support their ambitions, they moved from Madrid to Toulouse, to try their luck in French. Just as in Spain, the French edition of Jupiter’s Travels has been out of print for 25 years, and they plan to bring it back next year. This time it should be easier. They have a first-class translation to work with, and a promise from a top Parisian publishing house to do their distribution.
They were both with me in September when I was looking at property and they have agreed to come and rent some rooms at Aspiran when I have the house. Forty minutes from the big city of Montpellier with a TGV service to Paris, it ought to be good enough to hold them there for a few years, at least. I know their presence in the house will be invigorating.
You may like to see the books they’ve published.
The Rules of Engagement
As I see it, all Jupiter’s Travellers with projects under way will be eligible to spend time at the house, provided a room is free. When and for how long is something we will have to work out in practice. All I can think of at present is that they will have to make their own way to the house, keep the room clean, and provide for their own food and laundry. That’s all.
Montpellier is a big and beautiful university city only 40 minutes away, and the beaches are even closer at Sète and Agde.
There are good local bus services, and there will be room in the garage for bikes, but not cars.
I am enthusiastic about helping writers in any way I can. Before I started writing my own books, I was a newspaper and magazine editor. I enjoy the process of working with writers. I am proud of the fact that several writers associated with the Foundation have already published good books, and I have tried to help at a distance, but there is nothing like being able to talk about things face to face.
I hope you will see this as a useful service to those with the spirit and courage to let go of the comforts of home and bring the truth about the world back to us, in words, images, and music.
I will be grateful, and do my best to honour your contribution.
Ted (October, 2015)