To Write or not to Write. |
And a book is born.
Coming to grips with the awesome prospect of getting your thoughts out to the wide open world with all the chances of having absolutely nothing to say to anyone – rich or poor, young or old – dim or talented, is not an experience to be taken for granted. From what I can see, the obscure attractions of veiled verse appears to enable many, utterly befuddled with the prospects of becoming famous, to take that breathtaking plunge. Perhaps by putting on the cloak with all its colours and enigmas of stringed evocative words, the chances of being able to get out of the back door in all that haze makes the issue a little less terrifiying. I for one, can smell a dud a mile away and often when others drool pathetic over the potential enlightenment of the gathered words that appear to all others no more than a randon collection stright from some list. Never in the history of man and his acquired powers of expression has so much been grafted onto paper since the Hieroglyphs with little purpose other than to hint that there might be something encoded in it. Poetry, at the best of times, always made me wonder why things could not be simpler said if indeed it was trying to. The moon might be bright and even hazy, but I felt a little guilty at the idea of accepting its flight through time and endless shadowy dawns of silver trail. I would have preferred something along the lines that the customary orb made its mainly nightly appearance with full or shaded face as it has done since it first came to be. But then not everyone is as sceptical as that. And then I discovered that perhaps this thing called poetry had lost its original function and perhaps one could blend it in with clear effective writing to bring out a little more about what was being said. I thought that perhaps the sound and close proximity of words would open up those visions of interpretation that would lead the reader to the idea or place and experience a reality that cats sitting on mats could not do, short of it being Aladdin at the helm of his oriental axeminster.
Perhaps I too, was seeking the camouflage of the veiled insinuation and the double hinged back door but then my scepticism did not dwell on my ability to describe, but to transfer the moment and emotion to the readers without tiring them unnecessarily. The flow and transfer – the flavour and impact of the words that rallied to each other like inbuilt magnets caught in the movement. It was this, I thought that would turn those boring blocks of texts into rustling sounds full of their own import and to which all but a few would allow themselves to be led as if by the pied piper. Not easy, but gradual experience as a fellow traveller would lead the way.
It would not have happened, the book I mean, if I had ventured to write it in one foul sweep. In fact there was no book to be written there except for the demands of a genuinely sceptical editor of a local glossy rag that looked as if it needed the marketing equivalent of a shovel to get it down anybody´s throat. But then bored readers looking for something to flick through were not the best of subjects to try and educate into the mysteries of prosaic poetry. It was therefore something of a shock to realise that the wiley publisher was a little more anxious to get a few of the articles ready up front, than when he first called on my services. I soon found out why. Some people liked it a lot and they rang to say so. Henry and Rita were not exactly the answer to modern publishing, but they got all the stuff together quite diligently, especially the adverts, and put it before a printer who often pushed it all around a bit to far and left some to fall over the page of their own accord. Rita was a cut above him and knew that although my stuff was soared beyond the general line of easy one fork effort, that something seemed to work. Words like “enchanting” and “I read it right the way through” were being bandied and when internet brought out Japanese and Americans, looking for more, I appeared to have become part of the process. He would miss his deadlines and perhaps hope that the loss of one issue at least would not matter too much, but she was the hound and her strident, tired voice on the eve of those deadlines will forever turn the pages of all those hurriedly written pieces on the surrounding lands. I do not for the life of me even know why they were even remotely readable as a natural procrastinator like myself typed out each sentence with dire determination like individually wrapped baking efforts hoping they turned out as edible as the rest. Like sausages, they streamed out, month after month, that seemed like days as each vision of a moment found its thousand words and I pressed the send button with a degree of reluctant alacrity.
Publishers galore and all “but get it all neatly bound up and print ready” - something they did not know I was quite incapable of doing, until a multifaceted part employee, part wife to another, saw to it that the exercise went under way. The book was there in all its different flavours and somehow, we knew that it was more than a pipe dream. There was absolutely nothing anywhere of its type or content. It was a kaleidoscope of images of a people and their nature, never intended to be seen as a collection but one which screamed to be laid out as the magic carpet that it was soon to be. Perhaps, if the individual portions had not been written in isolation, the whole thing would have drooped in the centre, but by arranging the articles in form and content I could ensure that the imagery and interest would appeal to all but the hardest of readers to please. "Al Andalus - a Trail of Discoveries" (my one and only book) was to hit the shelves and in time, it would, for many, be a startling glimpse into the colourful world of the last anarchists of Europe – of the people of the olive trees and the white villages of the craggy mountains that guard the very access in some cases to their secluded, snuggly tugged away homes.
Al Andalus books are plentiful and mainly descriptive as travelogues should be or clinically correct as academics so boringly illustrate, but the trail of discoveries is what this effort is all about. As its author, I am loathe to categorize, but even I, often wonder how I came about saying such things in such a way. It has always been the same, miles after the event of one article publishing exercise or another staggered through the decades. Even when coming across some of my own text in the net or lost files or even having the ethereal icon of your subject matter, coolingly telling you personally that she was glad you wrote it, does the impact of your literary action, come home to roost. Only then does the terrifed mind, productive in isolation pay the price or reward for its indiscretions as each line or phrase etches itself like the finger of Zeus accusingly across the mental screen to vivify any potential derailment. It reads so much better years afterwards and not in front of its subjects, it would seem. It also reads as if someone else had done it and improved on the original effort considerably. Such are the wonders of the writing habit and the licentiousness of the unleashed resources of the freedom loving mind. Such is the need to encourage our beloved to take pen to paper and get off that debasing television screen that cannot compete with anything that talent, skill and imagination can put together with such genuine, intensive immersion in time and space.
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