5 things I’ve learnt about some famous and intriguingly mysterious people :
The Dogon tribe of West Africa believed that the star we know as Sirius A had two companions, and noted the cycles in which they caused the light from the Dog star to change. The knowledge of this to these people is believed to be 5000 years old – there mere existence of Sirius B wasn’t even inferred until 1844, and, very recently some astronomers had theorised that we may find a ‘Sirius C’.
The custom of covering all the mirrors in a house after someone’s death was to prevent anyone seeing the doppelganger, ‘the aura’ of the person who had died.
The ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ actually wore a mask of black velvet.
In the words of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, ‘nothing is concealed from the wise and sensible, while the unbelieving and unworthy cannot learn the secrets.’
Also, ‘all things which are similar and therefore connected, are drawn to each others power.’
Scarred face. Broken ribs.
grazed jaw. fractured collarbone. damaged shoulder-blade. one bullet.
That’s that, then. Punctured parachute. and no wings left to soar above it.
a gushing river, a boat without a rudder – we weather it; explore the intimate art of finer and thumb and lung and muscle, and steer.
we trace it back to its source, a diamond mine buried deep within the passionate heart.
one frayed nerve – search the innocent foetus, and rebuild this broken shell.
There is an island, off the coast of a larger island, off the coast of mainland Spain. I’ve only ever been there once – I suppose you could say I stumbled upon it one day when I was out on the water with an old friend.
We raced the kayaks past the headlands, alternating between skimming over the crests of the waves and plunging straight into them. I could taste the salt in my mouth, feel the wind in my hair and all I could hear was the crashing of the waves and his booming laugh. the sun, I suppose, laughed with him.
Then we spotted it, just beyond the outermost tip of the bay, an iron coin of green on the glittering horizon.
Needless to say we got there in the end, our only issue was getting back.
The sea had become too rough, too choppy for our puny canoes, but we had enough supplies to last the night, we would be fine, right?
We tried to lighting a fire, but nothing was working, by now, for all our efforts, the flames should have been licking at the wood in just the way the waves hugged the sandy shore. I asked him what was wrong, and he told me ‘this island wants no fire, it senses the wrath of Neptune on his way’. And that’s right when the rain started.
Fierce, jealous of the sparks of fire we had so nearly managed to kindle, furious at the two of us, so we ran inland, towards the forest. And then we heard the thunder. So it was out onto the beach again, but I couldn’t allow myself to care.
The lightening was struck electric purple, and the sea became a black abyss, but his eyes were green.
And we were safe.
Alternatively, the most badass playlist in all existence (listen here: http://8tracks.com/lilblonderocker/songs-to-go-laserquesting-to)
1. Lions in Cages – Wolfgang
2. Blow Me Away – Breaking Benjamin (feat. Valora)
3. Ready! Aim! Fire! – Imagine Dragons
4. Shoot To Thrill – AC/DC
5. Full Circle – Half Moon Run
6. The Lion The Beast The Beat – Grace Potter and the Nocturnal
7. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell
8. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
9. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
Elle Me Dit – Mika (Official Video)
I feel like, since this is my number 1 I have to justify its position most of all, like I have to merely present you with a list of reasons why its amazing and why everybody should read it, but in truth I cannot. I cannot say, in the case of this book most of all, exactly why I love them so much, why they mean so much to me. I’ve created my own world within the Inkworld, a world where I can live and be happy, where so many of the petty stresses of today that dominate my life in such a crushing manner can be completely dwarfed by bigger issues. But it’s okay, because those bigger issues are things I know how to understand, how to fight because I’ve learnt from these books, and so many others. It’s all I’ve ever known , all I have the capacity to completely understand, because I’ve heard about it so much throughout my life. They saw we are told these stories so we can learn from them and apply those lessons to real life but how can we? No one knows who the villains are anymore – too often they look so very much like the heroes. I know I can never have what I desire most from this world, but this book keeps me believing that maybe there is a way out, if not always in the way you expect.
I think it must have been around World Book Night 2013 when I started hearing a lot more about this book – from a teacher who’d got involved, and a Youtuber who was leaving all the copies she received on the London Underground for bored strangers to pick up, and eventually I found a very pretty-looking copy at the very bottom of a corner bookshelf in a local shop. I’ll admit it took me a while to finish, I didn’t really get into it until I was about halfway through (incidentally, near where the pictures started). I don’t know what it is about illustrated books, but they just seem to come to life in such a much brighter, more vivid way; its almost as if you’re being given evidence of these events, so that have to have happened. I never get tired of people who portray death as so much more than a state, the fate that awaits us all, it gives me such comfort to picture him as conscious, as sentient, and ever so slightly human. I suppose I forces me to believe that his touch can’t be completely frozen, unmoved by our hopeless endeavours to seek happiness and love, that he might even look upon us with tenderness for it – he isn’t incapable of warmth. For me it brings into reality something I’ll always love to see, which is a glimpse at the lives that went on, having been touched by the war, by the chaos, but still not completely dominated by it, because that’s what my life is, I think: I sit on the outskirts of the storm, almost unscathed but I see it all, every last bit, only the ones in it’s midst cannot see me, and so I am forgotten.
It’s it astounding how so many memories and emotions can get trapped between the pages of a book merely by reading it at the right time? This is another one of those. I ended up reading it whilst I was getting my bedroom re-done, so I was sleeping on the sofa-bed in the dinning room. It all sounds rather unconventional, but it was one of the nicest bedrooms I’ve ever had. I’m not quite sure why, considering it was early Spring so still very cold, though I did have a double bed…maybe it was this book? It’s just a huge cooking pot of everything I love in a story – trekking across deserts, travelling to far off lands, spies, scimitars, and Venice. Venice, man….it’s a dream come true. Just flicking through it now makes me yearn to read it again, and books that do that to me are the best kind, the kind you never want to be remember in anything less than pure clarity. And it was just so different, so ridiculously unforeseen, and its just got one of those endings, man…those infuriating endings…
Okay, now we’re really getting into the good stuff. Last Winter I managed to work myself up into a whirl-wind of Tolkien, with the discovery of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies, followed by my ploughing through an absolutely beautiful edition of the Hobbit (complete with illustrations by Alan Lee, whom I admire greatly), then a whole host of Tolkien-related Christmas presents, which finally concluded in 3 long but magical months spent reading the Lord of the Rings books. And it’s not just the book itself that makes me love it so much, its the feelings and textures and tastes and experiences I associate with it – I have so many wonderful memories of red glowing fairy-lights and badly-made hot chocolate and just a general sense of achievement for having completed a task that had initially seemed so daunting. But it was amazing. I have a total fairy-tale complex and this book it just such a perfect example of some of the best things you can find in a story – that, coupled with the fact that Tolkien’s narrative can make him sound like a sarcastic little shit at times, makes this book undoubtedly one of the best I have ever read. Everything about it makes me happy.
I first heard about this book in an old film I hold very dear to my heart – Eloise at the Plaza, a story about a remarkable little girl living in one of the most prestigious hotels in New York, whilst running circle around everyone who tries to get any sort of hold on her – where it functions as a surprisingly important plot device. I also hold in very high regard books that at least make the effort to try and make themselves look pretty, so a quaint little book for of the most colourful illustrations was a dream come true. I actually read it whilst I was travelling the African desert on holiday (only people who’ve read the book will get THAT reference;)) and finished it within a day, but I hope I don’t go forgetting it anytime soon – its a book I want to stay with me forever, especially as I begin to come to grips with the realities of being a grown up, I wish to always remember what it taught me (then again it wouldn’t be that much of a chore to read it again). After all, as it says, it really is a story for all ages personally I hope to still be reading when I’m sitting in a rocking chair with one of many grandchildren on my knee…yes, that would be rather nice)