The Book that Wrote the Life.

Coming ‘Out’.

The Book that Wrote the Life.

OK I shall sit here, with easy access to the Mosque just in case I decide to join. Something. I like to keep options open.

Sitting pretty
Sitting pretty

Let me introduce myself. I am a book of the square kind (at the moment) though I am being pulled about and recorded, even as I speak. I have been ‘e’d in two formats, and they follow close on my heels, jockeying for supremacy. As if!  I have decided to get out from under my author (who is looking both old and tired, and to be honest getting a tad monotonous) and look about myself, and wave to friends, and stick out my tongue, if I feel like it.

I shall not be confined to politesse as she is. She seems to think she is responsible for me. I can’t think why. I did all the hard work.

All these authors to-ing and fro-ing, lugging the fruits of their labours imagine that we, books, are their inspired creations. They take credit for us! They eye up each other’s offerings with envy or contempt, or competitive interest; better cover, lousy title, curling in the sun, falling apart in the rain, thin for the price, and that’s before they even look at what they call content.  Dreadful word. Nothing contented there. All we books are the un-contented. We are the dreams unfilled, the hopes shattered, the fantasies to replace the humdrum lives, and here’s the rub. Those lives are what we wrote. More sustained in energy, more consistent in patterning, more tragic, more varied with villains, more triumphant with victory than any incidental genre-specific book. Comparing a book with the life in which it was written is a bit like judging a family’s cuisine by dropping in unexpectedly for tea. You might strike lucky with crumpet or Bucks Fizz. It’s unlikely on a weekday. The high points are seldom recorded are they? Manufactured by Mills and Boon and those feed formula to babies. Life is never as simple or bland as that pap. Good news is no news.

(Incidentally and strictly entre nous…that why I made sure my author buried inspiration in hard graft…I had no intention of ending up with Patience Strong, or…and I probably should not knock the English heroine… Beatrix Potter. Children are no longer innocent enough, more’s the pity. Besides I never was one for joining and inspiration is ten a penny now, MindBodySpirit books a’topple and priced three for two.  I lusted after concentration, with a scorpion sting in its tail…not what you imagine in scientific theory..a seduction right at the end, the reader does get the girl, or vice versa…but I digress)

Now, like one of those group confessional ice-breakers, I suppose I am supposed to say what life I wrote. Can I think about that? Let the others go first. Since I am hosting this party I have that prerogative. It’s only polite. You’ll be sorry you asked once I begin.

I admit we books know envy too. I, for one, look over Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ with unashamed lust. I would have preferred to look like that, to fit as easily into a pocket, to be translated into every language, and darling, the immortality! I would also have preferred to be a first folio of Will Shakespeare’s, and have your actual monetary value too…not that that is important except when it comes to kudos. Kudos gets read with respect. It gets quoted. Nothing better than a spot of verbatim!

But here is another rub, we are limited by the minds in which we find ourselves. The vocabulary may be narrow, clichés may abound and be resistant to persuasion, the smorgasbord of experience only offering curried or pickled, varieties of cup cakes or bland bland. We have to work with life and, as they say in cliché, (do you speak cliché?) life’s a bitch. Sometimes it preserves one perfect event, like a forgotten piece of crystallized ginger still in syrup, that gets woven into a masterpiece like To Kill a Mockingbird —and there’s a book that served its author well. Put up her feet after one well crafted story, and all terribly likeable people; broke all the rules about a crime that never happened. It shouldn’t have worked but it did. That’s life. Never can tell. Does that not make my point? Life has an infinite variety whereas books have… what do they reckon? Six plots?

I must admit, I am enjoying being ‘out’.

She has served me well, and I would not hurt her feelings deliberately, but I think I can make my own way now. She really is not good at this part…she is embarrassed by me. She seems to imagine she will have to answer for me. I keep saying, ‘let me do the talking’, and she never did give over…so I have commandeered this applecart… (to be continued)

TED talk on Consciousness

This may interest some of those who choose to visit or follow this site.

A Ted talk offered by the Guardian.

Marrakesh as Metaphor: Book Market.

The Metaphor of Marrakesh: Scribes and the Marketplace.

Aerial Fna images

Have you ever been to Marrakesh? If you have you will remember the Djemma el Fna. If not I will give you as much as I can of its unadorned…? Beauty? No. Its inescapability, its centrality, its help to orientation, but mainly its knotting of all the alleyways, the radiating and narrow derbs that empty into it. Somehow this spreading, dusty— not-even-square —with mini siroccos licking at sandaled feet, and snakes curled in baskets until the evening makes dancing profitable, seems the canvas on which to paint my theme.

I have surveyed the marketplace for books, and where my stall might be pitched. I have watched the comings and goings and the light that settles at different points of the day. I am still deliberating. I see no place vacant.

Bear with me. You must meander a moment to take my point.

In the early part of the day Djemma is a dusty concourse of occasional crossings, hopeful orange juice sellers with fruit in pyramids, and their modicum of shade under a roof. In the evening it is a blaze of lights, and the chilli and turmeric aromas of a hundred food specialists and slipping between them the cut-purses, smooth talking conmen, and simple opportunists. It is the only place to really eat, well, affordably, convivially, commonly, transparently. But no wine. That is important; regrettably, no wine.

This is the metaphor for the book market.textiles Marrakech images

Up the darker alley of the souks are the producers, the small merchants in leather (tooled) metal (perforated) spices ( ground and piled) silk (sumptuous) dyes (reeking) home remedies (debateable) and every stall contains a story, and every dark eyed child an appeal. Here there is shadow, couriers, mint tea, donkey carts and time to work, and to talk.

Here it is that goods are fashioned, by trades that have their roots in families, areas and locations elsewhere and clustered together like the spice merchants in the Rahba Kedina. Here people know their onions and the onions of their neighbours, and whether they are up to standard or greedily over-priced. Continue reading “Marrakesh as Metaphor: Book Market.”

Careless Talk (Costs Lives)


(Demolition and Reclamation)

This blog will post ideas implicit in the book ‘Involution-An Odyssey’. There are many and they spread into everything. The ‘Philosophy of Self-importance’, and I mean that approvingly, or equally the ‘Momentary Soloist’, selected and already scored. Involution celebrates individuals, mostly famous, but they just got the timing right, and were found. The book is dedicated to all the others, mostly like ourselves.

It is about the world of words, and the lives that gives rise to words: Reasons to record. Not the market, nor the stratagems, for I have no knowledge of that kind to offer. Words are the currency by which we pay for life.

It’s central observation is that lives are shaped by the ideas that also give rise to the books; books are the debris left by life. If we have something to say it is only because we recognise ( and filter and extract) our uniqueness, and the extraordinary. Not the ordinary. So I will begin by being candid. My lives ( more like a cat ) have been improbable, but I suspect any reader of this blog would say the same. So here is a place to say it. How has your life shaped your book(s) and why was it so important to write it? I will enjoy celebrating where I came from, and what rough nurture prepared for this book of reclamation.

In time if I amass a following I will happily host posts that are relevant to this idea because those will touch us all at some ganglion of connection. Making sense of life, be it in universal story (your twist? Your exposure? Your solution? And your hopes?) or your wisdom ( How derived? Why necessary? How provoked? What solved?). So both fiction and non fiction for they are both equally imagination. We’ll come to that point anon.

If you have seen the Amphitheatre of the Drakensberg which is my ‘other’ header image, that was where I was born…within spitting distance and it still calls louder than any landscape I have seen since. The Mont aux Sources…both mine and South Africa’s.