Saturday, June 10, 2006

I just love books

the bookshelf of treasures behind me at my desk Actually, I love information, whether I get it from a person, a movie, a magazine or a book.

Books do seem like extended and co-ordinated information, however. This does mean that a monoculture (The Book) can seriously limit your ability to see how many ways the world manifests, how many different opinions it contains, etc.

I mostly read 'non-fiction' (although that label could seem confusing, when a lot of the stuff in non-fiction actually got made up by the author!) The whole area of what constitutes fiction or non-fiction has slowly become very significant during my lifespan, even though fakery and dissimulation, etc seem as old as the hills.

Our modern dependency on indirect channels for receiving input from the world(rather than direct sensory experience) does leave us vulnerable to manipulation - whether by cunning words, editing or Photoshop.

Get Tertiary from Amazon or lulu.comThis does seem a bit of a waffle, but first thoughts and zero drafts often do. Since my friend John Coppinger published his sci-fi novel Tertiary through Lulu I realised I can no longer put off attempting a book - I suspect I could write an autobiography, which combines my attitudes and opinions, and some of the stuff I have learned. Actually, if I added up all the words I have posted in blogs for the last 4-5 years, and all the words I have posted for online courses at the MLA, I have written enough words for several books, so the old daunting prospect of wordage no longer works to put me off.

I like the idea of turning myself into a book, a way of looking at authorship I got from Cocteau, back in the 70s, when I read a hardback copy of Professional Secrets. My hair stood on end and I almost dropped the book when I read this passage from his journals:

You take this book out of your pocket. You read. And if you can read without anything distracting you from what I write, gradually you will feel that I inhabit you, and you will bring me back to life. Cocteau manifested poetry through all the different media available to himYou will even risk making, unconsciously, one of my gestures, your face will look like my face. Naturally I am speaking to the youth of a time when I shall no longer be here in flesh and blood, when my blood will be mixed with my ink.

That is the whole difference between a book which is only a book and this book which is a person turned into a book. Turned into a book and calling for help so that the spell can be broken and the person reincarnated in the person of the reader. That is the hocus-pocus I ask of you. Understand me. It is not so difficult as it seems at first.

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