Aren’t words the devil? Dangerous too. I confess I recoil from all these buzz words like ‘tribe’, ‘brand’ ‘platform’ and even ‘quest’. They seem to position each of us with a loudhailer spitting in the wind. But give them a subtext, as Jeffrey does with ‘running with’ and suddenly the tribe is flashing through thin woods in moccasins in hot pursuit of a meal, a fire, and maybe ultimately rest among cheerful companions.
I confessed how reluctant I was to hail. But having accepted that conical amplifier and hardly before I put lips to mouthpiece the Cosmos took over.
Now I have written a book, much maligned as weighty, or erudite, ( it is in fact light-hearted and irreverent) about the synchronicity of thought and event, and yet it still surprises me when its timing is immaculate and instantaneous. No sooner had I joined this new ‘tribe’ to take stock of where I stood then my past knocked me over, fairly viciously. I had to terminate its claims, and I did. The past was now another country.
Into the cold winds of a new and undefined freedom , and after three years of being wholly ignored I received within the week the attention of two publishers both suddenly interested in THE BOOK. One for its ‘literature’, the other for its ‘philosophy’. So the baby may not need to be discarded with the bathwater?
I read this as the Cosmos claiming the book and wresting it out of my hands. Nothing may happen with either of these but the message has been taken. No book belongs to the author, anymore than a child belongs to its mother.
Chris Brogan’s Quest 2016 prompt
How will you better clarify whom you serve and what you do for them in 2016? #Serve
All is now being ‘better clarified’. Involution was ‘addressed’ to entirely the wrong audience, the closed world of conservative, suspicious science. It was written as poetry to appeal to their hearts, but scientists don’t allow themselves a heart when evaluating a new theory based on experience, not even the experiences of their own geniuses! Especially when those solid hypotheses are losing gravitas, and shown to be crumbling. They will shore up, rather than ride a wrecking ball. I tend to be seen as a wrecking ball, however quietly I speak in dulcet imagery.
So its audience will be unlikely to be found in academic circles, unless it is the students facing the disappointment of such closed minds. Both these publishers believed in a different audience, and what that clarified was the broken lance. A kind friend who knows me and it well offered to remove all windmills and said I could call her Sancho.
Then when an embryonic and sobered modesty was ready to settle for something less ambitious and I was deliberating the matter of three fountains ( three possible books)…and which would make the most of the few years left, two things (again in synchrony) conspired to narrow attention. Yesterday a fellow Quester Suzanne Petersen Chriastiansen answered my appeal but unconsciously. She quoted most generously from a short story of mine she had read and said it .’brought back memories of all the beautiful Earthy books I grew up with like Cry thy Beloved Country or Kringe in a Bos…I especially love the African muse in the Afrikaans language… all African books have the thread of EARTHyness running through them…THAT is what I miss the most…and my thoughts are driven by me – or driving me? towards a new project’ . We Africans never shake its dust from our feet.
This observation fell like rain on parched ground.
I had bridged the great divide between Europe and Africa, and her longing had recognised it. Bridging the divides has always dominated precisely because ways to reconcile them has been the central search in myself, and my family which was to be explored in what now has a working title ‘The Tribe of Strong Women’.
With her comment arrived a book I had ordered weeks ago called ‘Every Writer has a Thousand Faces’. IT is a slim gem. David Beispiel ( the name could not be more apt to his message) suggests one should delay starting any writing as long as possible, and instead lay out an arbitrary ‘palette of words’. They will suggest themselves. Let the unconscious select what they point towards, and ultimately shape. The book has already been written, and the role of the writer is as scribe.
That seems as good an answer to Chris Brogan as I can find. The unconscious is the field we all share. All I can contribute is the vocabulary and I hope some sherbet humour, and interesting synchronicities. Forty five years ago I sought to ‘serve’ science. It has taken me almost to the end of my life to accept that was not the plan. Perhaps the plan is now simply to harvest the debris of experiences that spanned the divides, and find words for longing. It is what unites us all, and we shape it uniquely. If my drum is audible it will be heard by the longing heart.
Have another picture. Less despairing, getting there.
“Honoré Daumier 017 (Don Quixote)” by Honoré Daumier – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
“Don Quixote 5”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
8 thoughts on “Quest 2016 Drumming for the Tribe?”
Your mention of drumming reminds me I need to drum. For many years I played around the edges of a great shamanic tradition but have been obliged by illness and circumstances to stop. Time to dust off my drums.
The Shamanic drumming is something of a sore point right now, since we have a neighbour…..It’s not the drums but the absolute absence of any evidence that there is any kind of unification being accomplished. Another of my ‘therapists’!
Glad you liked ‘Every Writer.’ It’s hard re-imagining into a new form what we think as finished, but works are not static.
I am still sifting through it, and was on the point of writing to thank you. It could not have been more timely. What was equally telling was his analysis that the past (memory)is just as much the imagined present as any fiction is, and the distinction between fiction and non-fiction is ephemeral. That is both liberating (when contemplating what is called memoir- but is only loosely attached imagination) but equally demanding inasmuch as it can be told in a myriad of ways all hoping to be art. The suggestion that a painstakingly revised ( six complete rewrites) novel would make a good film made me realise how immediately much sharper it would be. I could cut so much with only gain. BUT getting a film optioned is even more difficult so it never crossed my mind!
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Yes, the timing is perfect Philippa …
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“David Beispiel ( the name could not be more apt to his message) suggests one should delay starting any writing as long as possible, and instead lay out an arbitrary ‘palette of words’. They will suggest themselves. Let the unconscious select what they point towards, and ultimately shape. The book has already been written, and the role of the writer is as scribe.”
I recently found out that that is the way David Bowie used to write his songs! I have been intruiged by it, I will try it out.
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Thank you for commenting. The book is worth reading because it both strips away the furious injunctions to ‘Get down to the first draft any-old-how’ and then edit, edit and polish’ by suggesting the focus must come from somewhere deeper. But it also liberates the autonomy of the work itself. I always find a terror in starting any work because whatever the faults of the first draft, there is always greater ‘freshness’ than in any subsequent edits, which because they are ‘subsequent’ are emasculated. Getting the balance right between the first impulse and the delivered final is what is daunting. This book suggested there might be a method that would make it less so!
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