Loot Responsibly!

Loot Responsibly!

A hoot for our time. This was the instruction to his followers from Duduzane Zuma, reportedly living high on the hog in Dubai, on the proceeds of his father’s limitless looting of South African wealth. Watching the frenzied looting in Kwazulu Natal and Johannesburg, followed by the burning of warehouses and now the endless queues for non-existent food, there is a hollow laugh somewhere deep down.

Loot responsibly!

For me the hollowness is almost bottomless. Twenty seven years of the post-Mandela ANC governance of South Africa has brought it to this? The bright hope of a bloodless revolution, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s wise approach to healing wounds and expiating bitterness, the submission of the once powerful minority white population to acceptance, only to end in ‘loot responsibly’.

The looters are starving. They are unemployed and likely to remain so, they are also largely illiterate which is why the only shop left untouched was a bookshop. They face power outages but televisions and fridge freezers were trundled away in supermarket trolleys.  Not that there will be much to put in them, even should they work. The police joined in; a police van can carry a fair bit of loot. So too the occasional Mercedes Benz joining the fray! Even the vigilantes guarding their homes seemed content with deterence and waving a gun rather than using it. For the most part.

The hollow laugh is lodged in my own childhood. It is difficult to escape from. My idealistic zulu speaking grandfather Harold Jowitt, was the Headmaster to the founder of the ANC, the Nobel prizewinner Albert Luthuli. Both of them forsaw a rich country, and in potential few countries are richer in agriculture, or minerals, gold, climate, beauty, or diversity of wild-life where there could be lavishly enough for all. Education and training would underpin that sharing, and a working life would be universal. Both, along with Mandela,  have been betrayed by the greed that followed them.

The President Cyril Ramaphosa who began his career in the Trades union movement is worth $450 million dwarfing Jacob Zuma’s mere $20 million, and son Duduzame’s $15 million, now safely concealed in the UAE. The diamond magnate Oppenheimers wealth remains in the billions. The global elite always seem to survive.

African leadership has been universally condemned by the so called first world as ‘basket cases’ of irresponsibility. But is that because the rapaciousness has been quicker and less disguised?  It comes to me that ‘loot responsibly’ might equally have been directed at all the first world monopolies like Amazon, Google, Silicon Valley, and Big Pharma, who have looted any competitor, suppressed news of alternatives and eradicated the inventive by offers they could not refuse. Take the offer or get crushed. So we in the US and UK also have the homeless, the tent citadels, the soup kitchens, and the hungry. And the uneducated and de-educated.  They have all grown used to the rigged economies, the parable of boiling a frog-slowly and imperceptibly raising the heat.

Soon we will also have the failed health systems, and the monopoly NHS will be devoid of staff, killed off by the compulsory ‘vaccines’ or dismissal for refusing them. Most of our GPs lost no time in disappearing behind closed doors. The dancing nurses are now chanting on the streets and waving placards. African unemployment has been through neglect, ours has been contrived with Covid as the bioweapon. We will meet African standards sooner than we think.

Perhaps we can learn from the subversive inventive solutions, like the one store that spread cheap cooking oil acoss a broad entrance, sprinkled it with a film of water and watched looters tumble ignominiously unable to gain entry. Poverty has its own creative spirit, and that gives just one belly laugh full throttle.

Time to find similar stratagems. To laugh and get clever.

Where is True North Now?

I mean for the moral compass by which to live. Until recently the magnetism by which I oriented was as clear as the clock-face of time. Hands moved imperceptibly but the hours were there and people I knew mostly agreed and affirmed that we all saw much the same consensus world. The pivot on which the hands were set ( the unmoving centre) was mySelf, the entry point to which all else related. That Self was pinned in assumed liberty; to think, to act, to laugh, to be unwise, and above all to disagree. As long as it did no harm ( that was not liberty but license) there were no constraints; not in its essence. Any constraints were circumstantial, probably financial, or intrinsic, like my age for which I take full responsibility. I do not attend to healthy eating, or obligatory exercise, once smoked too much and still drink in moderation but I bear the consequences gladly, mea culpa. My unwisdom celebrates my liberty.

There were other components to liberty, mostly the belief that I lived in a civilised country essentially, which civility rested in assuming that smaller liberties were sacrosanct. Its imperfections and injustices had redress, its inequalities were recognised, and in the words of my birthplace ‘Alles sal regkom’ was ultimately implied because its humanity sought to grant liberty to all. I believed it had noble aims, although many not yet achieved. That was the centre of the moving hands of my vicarious daily doings. Nothing perfect but au fond good. As good as the air I breathed without thinking about it; a ‘given’, the basis of existence.

Almost overnight that world is gone and with it the Self that took them for granted. I now have to face the fact that they were not granted, or only on loan until the decision to remove them served a deeper purpose. Like feeding a slave until no longer required, and found un-sellable.

Air is now depleted through masks, ( as effective against a virus as chicken wire is against a mosquito), affection curtailed in its expression, humanity rendered abject and obedient. My kin now demand my surrender and acquiescence. Since I am a recovered, I now have natural immunity, but I am also severely anaphylactic; acquiescence (for no gain whatever) is likely to kill me. But if I resist it is I that am selfish. Those who put the value of their holidays above my life (or their own future freedom)  have not merely censure to beat me with but the State, and its army of outrage. Elderly women who once smiled and moved on are now beady eyed for the exposed nose.

Sometime ago I wrote a piece called ‘Covida, My New Companion’. Its tag-line was ‘A disease of ruthless truth’. In those innocent days I still believed ‘Rona’ was accidental, the ruthless truth was what it revealed about myself, my friends, and conditional friends, the ease with which I had accepted the generosity of life itself, the better uses I should have made of it- all that self examination was purging. If I recovered I would better honour life’s riches.

It came, as I saw immediately, with an ‘intelligence’. Unlike other viruses (and I have had most of them) this ‘thing’ was not biological. It did not wrestle with temperature, just took it up the scale and left it there, nor inflammation, nor raise my pulse or heartbeat. It took over authority and catapaulted me and my febrile body to the floor of that authority. It played matron and ticked off the inadequate protests with an indifferent shrug. It was in absolute control and would exercise that control until it decided whether I was ready for the morgue, or might be permitted to swab the floor, wring out the sweat, and totter back to vertical,  while it moved on and took over another; ‘next’. Next, next.

All those many ‘nexts’ I now know were exaggerated. Just to keep the fear alive. Doctors were paid a premium for Covid-attributed deaths and autopsies were forbidden. The profession followed by most of my family who believed in the Hippocratic Oath was grubbily getting a premium for falsifying. Now only one witness needed for certification to hasten disposal, and nurses sacked for whispering that many wards were empty.

Yet now the undertakers admit to turning off their fridges because business was so slow. They are humming now for the vaccine deaths, and promising business will boom even better in the autumn.

Now that I know it was a carefully patented bio weapon, with a patent number registered, along with the patented vaccine cures for shareholders, all that makes perfect sense. I recognised the difference from the beginning. The difference though, makes all the difference. The resolution I framed, sobered and contrite, now lies in shreds, the purpose left to me, will not reach the world that was. That is over.

But more than ‘over’. Even that past is destroyed (along with every illusion about nobility) together with its history. All those ordinary ‘good guys’ the valiant in mud-caked boots, conquering evil intentions  and dying in trenches, were all along the naïve fodder for those planning this plandemic. They assassinated presidents, silenced holistic doctors, murdered dissenting voices, ridiculed any who waved a warning signal, and to keep its impetus going arranged bogus deceptions like 9/11 or the capture of bin Laden or the moon landings—and we believed it all!  Yes I believed all of it, swallowed it, if not whole, nearly whole. Because trust was essential to Self. Those we elected would care for us! We had given them their power.

The trenches for this current and final war are the buried freedoms to think, and the dead in them are the valiant dissidents, the flag over them is now the triumph of Pfizer or Moderna waved by Bill Gates, the Clinton Foundation and the carefully engineered Great Reset of the Davos Club. Here comes the trumpet-herald Blair, never slow when a war is on offer. How does one even grasp that every country, its governments, its medical practitioners, its elected legislators, its dancing nurses, have all been complicit in the great deception? The final curtain for humanity? The murder of the useless eaters, and the deplorables; all of us.

That message is not an easy sell, but to save a few I try: To universal contempt. ‘With an intelligence like yours how could you believe in….???’

It does have its comic side. The pantomime villains like Claus Schwab who comes out of central casting as the CEO of S.M.E.R.S.H, the dwarf called Fauci who has been polishing his sickle at all that planned murder for decades, the clown called Bojo who walks on to ruffle his hair in that endearing way, and the wooden men called the army of ‘experts’ with names like Whitty and Vallance who keep their faces sombre despite their investments turning more than a pretty penny. Their absurdity makes persuading the sleep-walkers more difficult. Who can take any of them seriously? Trouble is most of my kin all do. For they are still my kin, and part of me, even though they shun this alarmist interpretation as the raving of a lunatic. C’mon man!

Where is there for any ‘Self’ now to stand?

Who would a writer address? My fond memoir epistle to those I loved, the world that was innocent, is an epistle to false belief, unwarranted assumptions, because the Self that took their measure was deceived by cynical narratives. I saw Israel as the heroic rescue from the desert by dedicated kibbutzim; now I know it was a trade to get a bigger war, and delivered by a man whose country it never was. Thereby to ensure the ferment of the Middle East forever. Money makes the war go around, the war go around…

 Lockdown for me has been a new education that has shown me that nothing I believed was true. Almost nothing is left standing except the miraculous beauty of the natural world. There was, in my later life, a deeper measure of truth, but the beauty of the world was precious, because shared. That illusory beauty tied me to my fellow man., to pour a glass as the garden burst open, and the roses scented the evening air. Could anyone write a poem to artificial intelligence, or celebrate the contemporary Tesla, Elon Musk?  Now Colleges of Music must forget Mozart or Beethoven and programme minority composers, and orchestras are disbanded for want of diversity: Even a meticulous score is now ‘too white’! True. Bring on the skin drums and the penny whistle.

I can still jive to a penny whistle but it’s not enough.

The past was largely illusion, but an illusion that gave rise to glories of genius; music, literature, painting, architecture: The present is grotesque. So grotesque that we have no resources to comprehend it. But this incomprehension has been carefully seeded by diversions and depravity. It is all so obvious now.

To watch the citizens who once fought incendiary bombs from the rooftops, who slept in shelters but still went to the music halls through the blackouts, who danced a frenzied Charleston, smoked like chimneys and bartered eggs for silk stockings is almost unbearable. Those that turned out for factory whistles and assembled tanks that rolled down ramps already firing, while the men they loved died like dogs, because they believed. Believed in the nobility of freedom from oppression. Yes; they were duped, their generosity exploited to their death and the same people were responsible, or their fathers were. Your country needs you! They signed up to give the illusion of liberty for an interval, and I thank them for that deluded vision for most of my blessed life. I owe them. Big time.

Now the undistinguishable Lowry populace scuttles in masks, and exposes its arms for a suicide shot, and wears a badge to prove it! They were all my friends and I cannot reach any of them. To them I am unhinged, to me they are deaf, blind and obdurate. They want to go to Benidorm. I want to recapture and secure liberty. With clarity of vision we could do it, together. The power of ‘no’ is all we need, but we need the ‘all’ to say it.

Most of the world is still saying ‘yes’ and even children cannot breathe

Covida: My new companion.

A disease of ruthless truth

Grey Flattened platelets

I felt her presence the moment she crossed the threshold. I would not claim she ‘breezed  in’, but her penetration came with a cold wind of dread, dread not of illness —nothing in me expected to be one of the chosen— but an unnameable dread that suddenly life as I had known it was to end.

It was certain, not apocalyptic.

I should set the  chosen victim in context before I introduce you to this ruthless calculating doyenne with her watch chain and gaunt resolve, a Mrs. Danvers mark ten. I was paddling slowly towards old age with some of the irritating symptoms, to which I gave no attention. I still had things to accomplish, a memoir to finish, other works to polish, and the days were filled with purpose and routines. Purpose had driven my puritanical life, to contribute something of small significance. I had long been indifferent to my appearance, or clothes and I wanted little. I hardly saw anyone. A reason to keep writing was all there was, and it was enough for some to say ‘You don’t seem anything like eighty’. I was nowhere near eighty, then. It was three months ago, that ‘then’.

Like any professional invader, Covida cleared her workspace, which was my mind, exterminating any resistance. She knew exactly what was required. I would submit, no nonsense, and since this would be a rehearsal for death I would lie down and sleep while she went about eliminating the value of anything I had achieved, chopping down and uprooting  before the pyre of correction consumed it all, the garden of my life lived. All illusions were swept away by her broom of unvarnished truth.

I slept uninterrupted for eight days and eight nights, only broken by a glass held to my lips every four hours, but the inner journey I took was her prelude for the other still to come.

First the landscape went pewter and metallic-ally grey, and the maw of a funnel sucked me slowly and inexorably towards it, until I fell, like Alice into a wonderland of bleak revelations. Grey flattened replicas of Covids floated past, like blood platelets or planarias with their characteristic spikes, as though suspended in a viscous medium, not threatening because being omnipotent they had no need for menace. They were masters in the medium of my blood and brain, and they were a tribe that had total possession, make no mistake.

Then, one at a time, I floated down past recent friends, and each was wrapped in a coloured film of slight colour, blue or green or grey. I saw that film as my projected imprisonment of those friends by my hopes and expectations of them. Those friends wrapped like mummies, had never been fully seen because I had projected upon them roles that answered to me. My longing for a reader had failed to differentiate between someone who admired my writing— in sich— from what I was writing which she couldn’t believe in, not really. Since the substance of what I was writing was my memories reconstructed with all their innocence, she, not believing them, was not believing in my world or my integrity. So my friendship built over years now seems to lie shattered.  My hope had blinded me and imprisoned her. Already I miss her.

So it was with each of them. Another, much younger, was wrapped in my confidence that she had never seen me other then as a contemporary, but Covida ripped off that illusion and showed her as kind but never carelessly equal. I wanted her youth, and she had granted it. I had expropriated her kindness. Others more distant were not mummified by my expectations but patiently waiting for their deserving recognition. I had neglected so many. There it was. One cannot unsee what one has seen.

Covida is a ruthless excavator of truth, the truth about oneself.

After the pewter funnel of recent life I landed in a black landscape in which the setting sun was a thin sliver of light on the horizon. It had the atmosphere of a Caspar David Friedrich painting, bleak but inevitable. That light was the remnant of my future life, if I was to live.  I took a vow, then and there, that if I survived I would not return to the unthinking, semi conscious existence I had been living. Nor re-clothe myself in the goals of self-importance, although without them the air blows cold about me. How will I spend my days?

Sunset_by_Caspar_David_Friedrich

I have not yet found another life to live. Perhaps when Covida gives her consent to let me walk more than three hundred yards without staggering, and remain vertical for a whole day I will. She is parsimonious with her spoonfuls of stamina. Some morning I rise with a teaspoonful that will last until noon, other days she is liberal with enough to see me through until tea time, and I have fed the dog before the desperation to lie down takes me back to bed.

Being stripped naked of all clothes of self belief, all the satisfactions from accomplishments ( and I had a few) leaves little from which to restructure a new existence. Perhaps a dulling of Covida’s influence will tempt me to return to smug satisfaction. I hope I will resist.

I have long had a place I go to in the imagination, a weather beaten grey wooden shack above a cove, shining like a coin, enfolded by the arms of the earth, and known only to gulls. That is where I hope to find a new life. Needing and wanting nothing.

I am now just as old as I look, perhaps older than even I know.

I do wonder whether my single experience is also to be the collective consequence of Covida’s invasion of the planet. Will she strip us collectively naked to repent of our blindness? Will we find its ruthless truth cleansing? I give Covida a female gender since women have a deeper appetite for truth, and are deeper mired in roles which imprison them and those they serve.

Humanity has received new vision, and been stripped of outworn illusions. We, Covida’s elected front runners, may have the wind of that in our nostrils. The haltings of the following tribe are still attempting to reduce the sharp salted new air to the recycled old paradigms ‘only a kind of flu’ ‘a variant of Sars’ in the hope of holding onto hope that Man has seen this before, and survived. Survived for another chance at mistaken identity and the death of value and values.

The lens of my encounter with her suggested something utterly unique, and ruthlessly intelligent, something impenetrable beneath the superficial symptoms of her presence. It robbed every conviction that I knew myself ( and I have spent a lifetime following Socrates in that pursuit). The onion has no limits. Nor does the onion of this blundering humanity concerned with appearances, with acquisition, with colour and distinctions, with sex and the liberation from gender, in the absurd belief that the individual is so defined.

The marvel of the unique individual remains hidden by the fluttering of banners. The Cause obscures the Universal.

First love; first light: Seduced by Adam Bede

First Love, First Light: Seduced by Adam Bede

Adam Bede Loamshire
The rough roads

 

I have not addressed the wider world for many moons. I lost any belief that I have new things to say, nor could I find any convincing reason why anyone should heed them if I had. Writing my memoir was an exercise to keep an old brain flexible, and discover whether my life had really had the importance I ascribed to it. It always seemed hell bent on commanding my energies towards something that evaporated as soon as it was accomplished. Anyway…

In recovering my own innocence, so that my disillusionment should shine the brighter, I have been revisiting the books that I now realise shaped not merely my ideas but my very life itself. I searched out what started as fiction and became my reality. The first critical vision of noble loyalty (whether accurate historically is beside the point) was John of Gaunt in Anya Seton’s Katherine. What a mensch he was! But that was all courtly, braided, curtailed and remote from my own world. It fed a kind of velvet dream but could not be dragged back into every daylight. It was a scented sachet of a book that spread lavender at unexpected moments, mostly a vision of an England I longed to know. A place of history and self confidence, a romantic hero of constancy.

-Library_books

Far more binding were the ropes of Adam Bede. In my school we were only permitted to read ‘approved fiction’ that were ranked in a dusty room under the keys held by the Latin teacher- the book room. There we could sort through Dickens, Trollope, Walter Scott in uniform bindings and bear away one book that we could read when prep was over but before the bell release. Adam Bede was my literary initiation. I was smitten at fourteen with a complete hero, but equally with a world I felt I knew. It was the recovery of the best beloved, both exultant joy and weepful gratitude!

I have just re-read it, with some trepidation, for I was afraid to lose the first work that gave me not only a world, but a passion for what literature was. I suspect I was unconscious of that directly, but it lay as undisturbed as the thatched hayricks await the need for food before they are dismantled and borne away. I do crave the recovery of that food, my own innocence that can be aroused, and here is where trepidation begins because I doubt that many now would read it without a curled lip- oh really! Too much! People aren’t like that!

Snow-covered_hay-rick_and_forlorn_sheep_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1160991

Innocence is now disdained in fiction, yet George Eliot was far from innocent when she wrote her first real novel. Yes, like most writers her first work is autobiographical, but for a sophisticate critic, long a Londoner, always a travelling, now in Berlin at the Opera, now with Franz Liszt for breakfast, she immerses herself back in ‘Loamshire’ in the village of Hayslope and gives us her own innocence amongst the characters that are scattered in steady farmsteads or tumbling cottages, where bright brooks well from the ground and all travel takes much walking. They all have dogs, Gyp, Juno, and Vixen and the dogs are ever present, monitoring and observing.

This was my first visit to rural England, where the seasons turn with dependable benevolence, and currents are harvested by small children in stained pinafores, and workers treated after the fields lie to stubble. It was that steady antiquity of tradition that I longed to be part of, and to be encompassed by. I realised again the power of its portrait, back along. In South Africa there was no such antiquity, nor communities of such steadiness. We were all tossed by more violent seasons, and more cogent fears, and a spectacular landscape in which we had had small part. The country was not shaped to fold its cloak of steeples and hedges about our shoulders; we had hardly penetrated its autonomy. We could love it for its beauty, its wild storms, its cirrus or cumulo-nimbus skies, but if we walked away it would not notice our departure.

mongolia-tarvagatai_mountains_in_khangai_range

So the England of Adam Bede held out such a hand of comfort. But here’s the thing. It still does. It no more exists now, than it did for a 60’s South African.  But in the mind rural Loamshire remains perfect, for what it said about George Eliot’s love of her country, her family’s experience among such people. There will be many (probably most) who would find the book improbable, for its almost universal redemption of error, or disgrace. The Methodist sermons of Dinah the preacher are overlong for today’s literary scrimping, that must apostrophe for scant concentrations but they reflected George Eliot’s own rejection of her father’s Church observance, and the hostility she faced. She was exploring their appeal as much for herself as the rough workers who gathered on the hillsides to be captivated by a woman in a white cap and grey dress.

Then there are the long entertainments of dialect and the acidic or philosophical in Mrs Poyser’s pithy put-downs. George Eliot had a wicked enjoyment of language, its metaphors and disrespect;  her characters did not ‘give-over’ nor, even when moved to change, do so easily. So at then end when all ends well, I was not provoked to disbelief. They were their best selves in a society small enough to temper, and close enough to reject. Rather pleased they had survived their trials, more or less unchanged.

I did not start this piece with a review in mind, but rather an examination of my own naïveté, and in the hope of taking up the pen with greater conviction. I might now, and allow myself to entertain rather than follow the plot of my life. I shall do what George Eliot does, reading a reader’s thought, break off and speak directly to counter their misgivings, plead for my prejudices as though prejudice is permissible, and acknowledge that the point of a book is to share what is important to the writer, not conform to expectations. If a reader knows beforehand what they seek, they might as well write it themselves.

My mother did not often speak of her monotonous schooldays in Staffordshire, where she boarded for six long years without ever going back to Uganda for holidays. Instead she and her sister spent them with a Welsh Methodist preacher’s family where Sundays meant chapel and no swimming. But she did tell me of school Easter Sundays walking to church in heavy cloaks, with the snow falling on the daffodils and on the straw boater, and ‘Let us pray’ dripped melted snow onto the prayer books. That was why Easter was always more important than Christmas. Literature is built of single moments and may need nothing more than capturing them, without asking for more.

Daffodils_on_Easter_Sunday_in_Jenny_Wood_-_geograph.org.uk_-_767075

By di ablewhite, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13434662

By Joan Sykes, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13882295

Read Poetry if You Want to Understand Science?

Involution: Read Poetry; Understand Science.

Blowing a trumpet-Sorry!

DNA. Evolutionary Memory Storage?

Yeah? Nah. Never.
Look again. The PHI.  Fee Phi Fo Fum
Now, still so sceptical?

Nearly fifty years ago I wrote the Theory of Involution. I jumped across a void and suggested that the entirety of Evolutionary memory was stored in ‘junk DNA’. Science had been simply the recovery of that record by the mavericks, aka the Geniuses, given access to the stacks. All those diligent contemplatives in dust coats sifting through the aisles. Aha got it! Move over. Try this instead.

No I never put it quite like that. I ennobled these minions of the library with their Eurekas as the bright sparks cannoning into God; God being the field of memory shared out in every cell, the Internet of information. I made that suggestion after studying the chronology of recovery, which went back in time, while evolution goes forward. And I further suggested that the Internet was simply the model of what we had had access to; always.

It tanked: My wonderful hypothesis. A few notables like Arthur Koestler, and Konrad Lorenz gave it a cautious thumbs up ( maybe they recognised my recognition since they were both of the got-the-badge brotherhood of genius) but on the whole I was derided, spat out, dragged before a Cambridge Committee and made a coconut-shy guy.

So I rewrote it as poetry. The advantage of poetry is that those disposed to understand it will; those who wouldn’t are not quite sure what you have said. Or whether it is quite wise to reject it, until they are sure. A bit like hiding a secret doctrine behind a combination code; poetry is just like DNA in that regard, a spiral of information that only the deft can unwind.

Which brings me to this week’s news. And a satisfying validation. Unesco’s Memory of the World Archive have synthesized DNA that encodes (and will store forever) two songs from the Montreux Jazz Festival a mere 140 MB of data.  This storage is smaller than a grain of sand, and if they want to encode the rest (6 Petabytes) it will be smaller than a grain of rice. According to the people who measure, the entire internet would fit in a storage container of DNA the size of a shoebox.

Well! The size of anything is irrelevant (although the perfection of DNA’s coiled structure wound on protein spools makes even its size and protection of information a superlative secretary. A perfection of PHI and Fibonacci). I cast my net of conjecture upon the shining net of DNA throughout the cosmos and even unto DNA’s precursors in RNA and unattached nucleotides not then organised.

The Russians worked out DNA storage in the sixties ( roughly at the same time I was suggesting my hypothesis) because Pyotr Gariaev had divined that DNA was not a ‘structure’ as much as it was a language; a language in which context gives meaning, and there are homonyms that look the same but mean different things depending on their surroundings, and what comes before, and what comes after. Infinitely flexible, infinitely rich and multidimensional, universally readable, universally modifiable. Gariaev spoke to seeds destroyed by Chernobyl with laser light re-instructed by healthy DNA and they sprouted. Miraculous? DNA responds to sound waves, its language read throughout the biosphere. Mantras work on DNA. The biosphere speaks, hears, changes, remembers.

Memories are made of this

So in suggesting that DNA was the language, not merely the 3% encoding protein structure, but a language of memory and memory of experiences, the basis of ‘re-cognition’. Cognition aka science. The cosmic record.

Still they have managed the two songs; they have managed to synthesize what nature has perfected for millions of years. They are getting there. I was fairly ahead of the time, by half a century.

There is some comfort in that. It would be great if someone else noticed, but it’s unlikely. So forgive me.

I hate the word ‘content’. It means nothing. But this ‘content’ seemed worth storing in my own shoe box of cuttings- resprouting.

If you want the full monty you can find it here

Read poetry and understand science.

MOVE OVER. BOOK WITH SHARP ELBOWS

The Dangers of the Memoir

Move Over- Book Seeks Space for Indefinite Period. Period

I don’t suppose anybody has noticed my absence, but in case anyone has I must include you in some reasons. The minor medical scare was not a reason but a release. I may never have to write again! Marvellous. I’ll tidy out the cupboards, sell the beloved cello. Weed the garden and wait. Maybe I’ll need a crucifix? Shall I dig a trench next to all the dogs and make life easier for everyone all round?

Milly grave

Instead the ‘all clear’ verdict has re-locked my ball and chain, fastened me to the throne of myself, and re-filled the Parker pen. Metaphorically speaking. Get to work. You don’t escape that easily.

Now here’s the problem. Or some of them. What I write does not have commercial appeal. Never did, never will.

I know ‘page turning’ ( I do it myself) means plot, means tension, means the hero’s quest, means structure. But the only quest I can call on is to understand my extraordinary life.  I have been trying to puzzle it out since I had teeth to chew upon. Too much extra-ordinariness IS the PLOT. A wholly improbable life that implies something; orchestration, purpose, intention. Towards what? I still don’t know how it ends, though it is fairly imminent. Maybe time for one more book?

But, and here comes hell, there is simply too much of it, and a life is a whole. A book, any book must make a judicious selection and pull out threads from the tapestry, and weave a hair or wrist band and leave it at that.

Here have been some under consideration.

The veldt and Denys Reitz149979483_640

1.The view from the bridge over the chasm between Africa and England? End up offending both sides? Boer the reader with the Boer War, teach them to ride bareback over the koppies, and my grandmother’s views on Cecil Rhodes, Jock of the Bushveldt, Baden Powell et al. Then transport them to Mary Quant and sixties hip London for the blast-off, that fizzled out? You get the drift. Mandela followed by Zuma- no absolute heroes,  a fair few villains. Margaret Thatcher?  Over-cooked. Yet there are distinctive flavours.

Denys Reitz 9acfca0d466326ff6bb3d4dc24fdc721--africans-book-jacket

 

-Deneys_Reitz
Denys Reitz: A Boer Commander who inscribed his book ‘Commando’ to my grandmother after he was banished to Mozambique by the victors- les Brits! In the inscription he referred to their ‘unparalleled generosity’!

Denys Reitz 00341db61fe4ef5b4a623178ba6a8569--war-horses-days-in

 

 

 

 

2. The Search for love. Now that is a kinda quest. Literature as a kind of painting by numbers ( choose your own heroes) and all the seductions of wrong directions. Just William and Ginger would never have welcomed you in their gang. There is no John of Gaunt for you girl, and Rhett Butler? Nah, never.

Rhett-Butler-rhett-butler-27877846-500-452

Oxbridge and Virginia Woolf? Getting warmer but all that racism and preciousness? You don’t know about the overt racism? Just you wait! I took Harold Nicolson’s letters home personally since they were written while he was a guest of my Zulu speaking grandfather, who was forced to endure the company of a man who despised the people he loved. And said so. Explicitly.

But wait! There is a story and one with a literary bite. George Eliot picking up the odd stitch until I faced her full frontal at a graveside in Natal. That could make a novella for a discerning small publisher? But how I came to find her, and find the grave, weaves back into the fam-damily and the WHOLE narrative. Otherwise it looks flimsy, or contrived. It is neither.

So okay a memoir. Threads of all the above discerningly selected. I probably won’t have time to manage more than one.

Can you see why I have been silent? Six beginnings, all expiring at the third chapter.

Last night I had a rescuing dream. I had summoned my Daimon and appealed. ‘Give me a sign’.

In the dream I was contemplating the need to accommodate a guest I had never met. I was apprehensive because I knew it would be a long sojourn. I drifted through my beach shack house ( clapboard, glass, and sparsely furnished swept rooms with a lot of light but few creature comforts).

Lilwala

This small room at the back? Too dark. I want her to be able to read and entertain herself.

This large room I like? Where will I spend time? She’ll command the only bathroom.

Ah, this pillar that holds up the roof? With a well supported ledge? She could curl round it to sleep and would, in consequence make herself scarce during the day? A sort of Simeon Stylites guest?

CIS:E.445-1965

Imagine being looked down upon all day? I woke up.

On contemplating this signal dream, I understood my wrestling dilemma. I was trying to accommodate this book by avoiding her, as much as possible. Confining her to an isolation ward, that would not infect me, keep her distant; feed her scraps.

I have created the shack of myself over the years. I go there when I am overwhelmed. It sits above a cove of beach, and tidal plashing sea; its enfolding arms stretch to the horizon. The shack has a porch with a grass chair and a hammock. Below, through an arch of rock, where the tide leaves small pools, and crushed shell is the opening to the beach. Across the sands lies a moored boat with a single sail. The mariner never faces me but I know he waits to unfurl that sail when I have the courage to enter through the rock and walk towards him.

I realised that if she were to be welcomed she would have to occupy, (and be invited to occupy), the whole house, from foundations up. Wander from room to room, and interrupt. I will probably end up hating her.

Because it is the whole house of myself I seek to understand. Perhaps when I have finished, the mariner and I will depart

 

 

 

Rabbit Holes: Some Call it Daydreaming, Writers Call it Work

Source: Rabbit Holes: Some Call it Daydreaming, Writers Call it Work

Other writers recognise it as a kernel from which green things will sprout.

An Eclipse I Made Earlier

Astronomy;_the_corona_of_the_sun,_viewed_during_a_total_sola_Wellcome_V0024739

 

Eclipse

Tick moon gorging on blood from the sun

proceeds to suck dark the impervious sky.

Blushes under scrutiny, slowly winks, shutters half an eye.

 

Blind to waistcoat watches, eluding expositions…

Slicing its oyster along, along

the incessant speculating tongue. Far out

 

novice stars, newly born, flicker excitedly.

Dim television drones on; ‘new initiatives,

forty wounded, fifteen dead’.

 

The Virgin kneels to annunciation, accepts

a necessary puberty and the cowl.

 

Darkness in the grace of yes.

 

The Blindfold of Hope

 

The Blindfold of Hope.

Portuguese_Man-O-War_(Physalia_physalis)

My neglected followers need an apology: The silence over past months has been deafening. We writers are used to fallow periods of doubt, fatigue, burn-out, depression, which tend to express themselves in a whinge. This will not be another whinge but some kind of awl; puncturing the inflation of self-importance, which keeps us afloat, like a blue bottle bladder on the salt seas. To ensure another stinging, mettlesome incisive contribution. Another that will sink without trace.

I am here to prick out the air of hope that inflates this persistent bubble.

Hope is the real narcissistic betrayer. The less of it there is, the more irrational its high maintenance, the stronger it grows. Like the death throes, the final gasping is more laboured and more desperate than those earlier rhythmical currents of disappointment followed by resolve. Breathe out; breathe in. Take up your pen and scribble.

There I was thinking I had come to terms without hope, hope of readers, hope of publication, I had accepted the accelerating speed of ageing and sifted out a few ‘manageable’ tasks that might be squeezed in before dementia started clacking its teeth.

Out of the blue came a letter of fulsome praise for a work I had almost forgotten writing. A seeming blast of enthusiasm (in its original sense- or so I thought) re-inflated that wrinkled bladder and set it a-sail. ‘Surely you must have been inundated with requests of this kind but might we meet? So much I want to ask.’

The_English_balloon_and_appendages_in_which_Mr._Lunardi_ascended_into_the_atmosphere_from_the_artillery_ground,_Sepr._15,_1784_LCCN2002721993.tif

Instead of the rational response ‘Nice idea, but why?’ I took wing. Well, car. Travelled some distance, well, three hours one way. Was I discouraged by horizontal pelting rain? Not a bit. Was I afraid of winds strong enough to hurl cars across the lanes of the Severn Bridge, well, yes. But hell. A man liked my book. Was interested to know more. Death had no dominion.

So the funds that might have formatted the one that might come next, was spent on a dull hotel room in windswept Wales. We did encounter one another, a man reluctant to remove his hat and an old woman carried by hope like Mary Poppins, legs flailing.

I think maybe he really did initially like the book, but I think he liked the idea of being paid to ‘re-launch’ it a little more. That was the slow rising yeast within the monologues that assured me…err… of his estimable connections, his… err… family history of building err worthy stately houses. No mention of books. ‘Books are not really my field, though I do read a lot’. He would like ( you said you could spare it) a few hundred to read it for an audio, because he was a bit short, and ‘and by the way I need you to jump start my car to get home. It’s a tad unreliable’.

That was all the fault of hope. Bastard. What ignominy! How low will hope take one?

It puts a blindfold around judgement, and twirls you around, and pushes you towards every insane sweet smell of approbation. I have circled through five such hopeful proposals. Each thought I would pay handsomely for deeper disappointment, I would grant copyright for five years; I would print for reviews; I would pay to pulp; a disappointed author is a tree dripping plums. Hold up an apron and it will fill.

But this was the final gasping expiry of hope. I hope.

Advice? Avoid hope. Call it to heel, and grind it to ashes. You can recognise it whenever you start to breathe deeply. Instead like any woman in labour, just pant, and something might be born, or not. If it is, its appetite for attention will be modest, and it will not be a blue-bottle. It may be a sprat and swim. If it sinks you might plant a garden instead.

You will avoid humiliation. Promise.Hot_Air_Balloon_at_Baughton_-_geograph.org.uk_-_548819

The Infected Splinter and a Dream

A dream restarts the writing engine. The spark plug reset.

The Infected Splinter and a Dream

Counselling woman-1006102_960_720

I have neglected the friends who do read my posts for a long time. I have neglected writing anything much for months. Before Donald Trump gave me every reason to stop I felt that words of any kind were inadequate, worse, self-indulgent. Instead of writing I tossed from pillar to pillar (no post) leaving a wake of wrappers, half eaten programmes that would find me ten thousand readers, book funnel avenues that would hook and land and lead to the sunny uplands of clamouring fans thirsty for my next succulent offering. All the writing I did was the writing of cheques to pay for dead-cert best sellers.

But I have passed some of that time reading other people’s posts. Many expressed my own despair (so endorsed no need to add to them) and apart from the successful nose- to-the-scent success stories of the series, the sequels, the genre specific authors, they exuded a waft of artificial hype. So many WRITERS chasing too few READERS, and many of those writers lamenting that their raison d’etre had evaporated in blockage, depression etc. In essence the unspoken question seems to be ‘why can’t I accept failure and give up?’ I have repeated that mantra for years. I am trying to detect a labyrinthine escape route from boring myself.

Following an arresting dream ( which I will come to) I realised that all this inflamed despair stems from an infected splinter; the splinter of hope. None of us can tweezer it out. When we try it is like getting a ball from a dog…it just moves further away and dares you to try. It now strikes me that there is an implied hypocrisy in the professed inflammation of despair. If we believed in it and knew we would not find readers, then the lack of them should cause no grief, no? We could either give up (if despair was as total as we pretend) or we could carry on regardless without disappointment, shaping beautiful stories for a single friend.

That’s my thought for the day.Despair man-164218_960_720

What has greatly added to my particular disillusionment was being introduced to two new Amazon stratagems. The first was the discovery that writers who put books on Amazon unlimited will get increased payment upgrades per page depending on their twitter follower count ( Facebook too I think). So go to work on behalf of Amazon befriending , liking and licking, (all you writers prepared to stuff its Christmas stocking), and you’ll be rewarded! The other one was a new service by which you can feed in your book idea before you write it, through a narrow slot and see if it emerges to fly. So write books that Amazon can sell and don’t bother with any other kinds of book!

Now rolling that around my particular situation and I come out like coffee grains from a grinder. Which brings me back to my forays into the treadmill of marketing. All are based on what you write being ‘useful’ ( non-fiction) or entertaining ( fiction a la genre). Which is why I have flirted (pointlessly) with approaching agents- pointlessly because there is no money in the literary places I lurk.  Not one of my books is an indicator of any other. So what started as a personal attempt to accept my limitations has now turned into social commentary. There has never been a better time to be a writer? Provided…….You are Neil Gaiman, and young. I used to think it was my advanced age but now I know that is neither a reason or an excuse.

I promised you a dream which has consolidated something, and those of you who help out with dreams may see what I have not. It was an admonishing dream.

kitchen scene

I was in a crowded and chaotic kitchen, sitting at a nice scrubbed table, talking to friends, listening to snatches, pots a-boiling, carrots a-chopping, thinking that order might have given some serenity, but maybe at a cost of spontaneity. My daughter entered through a distant door carrying something in a cloth between two hands. It looked like a grapefruit.  She pushed it at me across the table and I saw it was a very tiny baby. I sort of took it from her, leaving it on the table, but went on talking to neighbours for some time. They drifted away and suddenly I remembered the baby I had neglected and with a rush of horror I saw it had melted. On the table was just a puddle of milk, dripping over the edge onto the floor! I woke

My first thought was a cliché.’ No use crying over spilt milk’

I know what I think this meant (and it is not hard) but I would value your impressions, observations and remedies?

All I can say is I am grateful to the grapefruit for prompting this rather odd post. You never know I might keep at it. A dream prompted my last book. I wrote it in the dream/examination, and handed it in and woke up. I have just been brave and asked a few to read, perhaps that spilt milk might yet be drunk by a cat- there is a cat character in the book, an important cat.

Ginger catcat-181608_960_720