Bibliomancy

Sometimes, what is needed throws itself at you.

After writing about my proposed ‘book diet’ yesterday, my mind was clearly pondering the idea as I looked about the multitude of titles on offer in my own home. Exciting prospects, all.

As I prepared for bed, one title in particular caught my eye, almost falling off the shelf, shouting ‘Me, Me, Me!’

So this morning, I took it down and opened it up. And was caught.

‘Too often our lives automatically get channelled into narrow, secure patterns, set into deadline routines. Some of us want out…

To do this, we have to live on the edge, between the lines, somewhere between matter and spirit, masculine and feminine, darkness and light, leader and follower, stillness and motion. We venture like tightrope-walkers over the abyss of the unknown. I like it on the edge. I take others with me. This is my work.’

(From ‘Maps to Ecstasy’ by Gabrielle Roth)

Stephen King said that if a long novel is an love affair, a short story is like a kiss. An autobiographical tale is an invitation to an intimate relationship, sharing secrets and seeing parallels between your own experience and that of another person. The words contain memories, experiences and ideas, and can inspire the same in the reader with that shared truth.

I love to hear the voices of others telling their tales. I walk with them on our brief journeys between the pages. And in the case of this tremendously creative lady, I dance with her, along the edge. Her voice speaks to me precisely at the time it is needed; I am both glad and grateful.

I read on.

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Everything in Moderation…

I think I might have to go on a book diet.

The shelves are heaving in every room, even after a ‘bagging for Charity’ session. Every visitor tends to leave with at least one book – that’s just the way I am, as I love to share the stories. But I can’t justify any more right now, due to space, money and time. Resolve and determination is called for…

As I rummage through the stacks, however, I can’t help but smile. I remember buying (or acquiring) each and every one of these titles, read and yet-to-be-explored. That feeling of interest at cover or blurb, flicking through the pages to feel its individual character – the font, the sensation of the pages, the scent. New and pre-loved, they are all there, patiently waiting for my attention at last.

And that, more than anything else, is what makes the proposed ‘diet’ a good thing. I picked up and kept these worlds-in-paper for a reason. Let’s go back to them and give them the time they deserve.

There will always be new worlds to explore, after all.

Now, when I drop this lot at the Charity Shop, the challenge will be to leave without looking at their shelves… 🙂

Telling Tales

I love books.

This is such an understatement. Those of you who know me… well, you’re probably the ones who’ve called me a Bookaholic (hey, it’s a relatively cheap and safe addiction!). I have to have reading matter about my person at all times. My bookshelves rarely have gaps.

So I love, of course, to hear about new books, with exciting uncracked spines that I haven’t explored yet.

Sometimes I ask for recommendations from friends, as a random dip into the reading worlds of other people. Social media is great for this, and today did not disappoint. Heaps of ideas ensued, which started to follow a trend for ‘magical realism’. As a good Bibliomancer, I’m not one to ignore the signs when they’re right in front of me – so I’ll be duly investigating these new territories with enthusiasm.

Then I remembered – years ago, I created a list of recommendations myself, when I was being asked about Pagan-related fiction. A quick hunt and it turned up here. Some well-known titles, some more below-the-radar – but all fondly held in my mind and heart.

Books are to be shared. Stories are part of my spirituality, the myths that make up my life. I even recall dressing up as a Greek Goddess for school once. Now I’m living my tale with greater awareness as each day/page turns.

What book holds you in its spell right now?

SF Bards

I’ve been reading a lot of science-fiction lately. Mostly dystopian in theme, from a variety of countries and eras.

While the ‘must be busy’ part of my brain tells me that I could be doing something more constructive, these stories are engaging me for several reasons, resulting in time actually very well spent.

It’s easy to disparage ‘genre’ fiction, but a lot of these tales are very well told, carefully considered and – yes – following in the ancient Bardic tradition. They satirise the world in which they were written, showing extremes of human behaviour and the potential consequences.

When reading pre-1970s pulp SF, hindsight gives us a certain viewpoint – the technology of The Twenty-First Century can appear ludicrous, and the ‘action’ laughable. But people are still people. Relationships and characters reflect those known to the author.

History teaches us lessons. Future history plays with that idea. Skilful storytellers demonstrate possibilities, to both entertain and make us think. As with most media, we get out what we put in… but the dime novels of the past are now themselves valuable documents. Is our present better or worse than their dream?

We hear the voices of our ancestors, and consider the voices of the future. And hope that it’s not too much like 2000AD.

Subtle Wisdom

I’m not exhausted today, but I’m near. Life seems to be going from extremes of busy to bodily demands for ‘Rest NOW’… but I’m riding the flows, to see what comes. Overdoing it always proves unwise, to put it mildly.

Today, I’m reading: research and review books. My mind wants to be busy, but the tiredness is making focus difficult. So I’m letting the words pass in, reading slowly to understand, comprehend, grok as best I can.

And the ideas are indeed flowing. Phrases from the books jump out at me, demanding consideration. Words spoken by passers-by yesterday keep ringing little bells in my head, wanting to be remembered. Certain themes keep appearing, over and over, refusing to be ignored.

Several people poked me to write more (as in Book 3, ‘official’ writing rather than blogging, I think), but today is not for that. Today is for taking time, carrying around my little notebook and a pen, jotting down those phrases; whether from old books or wise friends, I’m not fussy. Let’s see where the ideas take me.

It’s a grey, rainy Monday outside – but the birds are singing. In here, the voices of many are coming together to make something… It’s just important to take that time to listen, to see what song is being made.