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.
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)