Since August 2023 last, I've made miniscule authorial progress. Wiley (publishers) indicated that I could send them a pdf of my manuscript. It's a word doc and I'm uncertain about all that conversion palaver to/from word/pdf and back again. London publishers Price asked me to sent the complete manuscript. I'm pondering that.
More recently, via the good offices in 2015 of Fr Brendan SJ I've been in exploratory communication with a potential editor in Ireland. We may/not make progress tho the distance factor from Beal Feirste to the West means Zoom/WhatsApp may be yer only man. Neither appeals to me but perhaps needs must - we'll see. What I lack is someone to bounce my thoughts/views on. The solitariness of the long-distance wannabe published author sends shivers down my intellectual spine.
Today I discovered that a London socialist bookshop has a publishing arm. I may contact their guy, Colm, tho my manuscript is far from a political manifesto. Suicide - like the police, poverty and war - is a universal phenomenon that reaches well beyond humanity's hydra-headed complex of social systems, none of which, so far, have 'solved suicide's riddle'.
In my manuscript, I attempt to differentiate between the study of suicide, per se, and the practice of suicide prevention. I do not have any issue with the latter, just as I fully accept the activities of humanity's efforts to reduce road traffic injuries/deaths and/or aeroplane crashes, and to prevent potentially lethal cardiac conditions (e.g. arrhythmia) and the like. But I would argue - indeed insist - that the study of intentional human self-destruction, i.e. suicide, must be an essential prerequisite for humanity's activities to prevent, or to reduce, or to eliminate suicide.
This position is in line with the thinking of Thomas Szasz but may conflict with the often-stated view of Edwin Shneidman. Neither of these polymaths offered anything like a panacea for suicide's destructive behaviour. Each attempted to understand it: Szasz, a libertarian, was close to believing that suicide was a human right. Shneidman, a humanitarian, held that we, fellow humans, had a duty to save each life, including that of any person at serious risk of killing tbemselves.
In the end, it was found that Szasz had taken his own life, aged 92 and seriously disabled:
"Thomas Szasz ended his own life on September 8, 2012. He had previously suffered a fall and would have had to live in chronic pain otherwise. Szasz argued for the right to suicide in his writings" (Wikipedia, 19 Sept 2023).
Shneidman died aged 91 of natural causes:
"A few months before his death, Edwin Shneidman reflected on the “great urge to somehow live on” that he recognised in himself. Then he said: “There's no spirit or soul. I will be dead. Get that through your thick head, I'll be dead. And I ‘live’ in my children, in my DNA, in my books, in my reputation.” Shneidman's writings and influence will certainly survive him, his colleagues say" (Harding, 2009).
Currently awaiting my potential editor's response to the chapter on the culture of suicide, a local phenomenon, that I sent him a while back.