Nearly there

Day 091/100

Well after the events of the last few days, I am back and raring to go. Never thought I would actually make it to the end and be able to keep writing for all this time. And I never imagined that I would have followers or people taking time out to post comments and say hi, that has been cool, and thanks to all of you who have dropped by. Well only a few days left until the finishing line and I have to say I am looking forward to having a bit of a break and trying to find more topics to have a chat about. Not sure what the future holds time wise but I hope to continue blogging, who knows. Anywhoo after all the excitement of the olympics we can settle back into reality and calm. Hope everyone is having a good week and enjoy what little good weather we have been blessed with, Ireland is not well know for its sun.

How true…

Day 058/100

In book making mode at the minute and can not keep my brain from thinking about anything other than type, layout, paper and binding techniques. Its madness at times but you just have to go crazy once in a while. Hunting around I found this quote from R.D. Cumming A good book has no ending, and thinking on it it is true, a good book does not end once the last few pages have been turned and the thick covers encircling them reunited. It continues to resonate long after the final chapter has come to a close and you have begun your next journey, seeking out the next sublime master of storytelling. But as we move from one book to the next a certain vestige of those pages that have passed remain, lingering in our mind, evoking long forgotten passages or events. Making us contemplate the memories of our time embroiled in fictional romances, dastardly murders, bodice ripping shenanigans, and the harsh realities of disconsolate endings. A book begins the story it is the reader who finishes it, be it in the dream world or reflected in their waking, catching a fleeting glimpse of a forlorn Miss Havisham, the bag lady in the park who shouts at the world, Paddington Bear, a much loved teddy forgotten on the train, Hercule Poirot, the flamboyant older gentleman professor, and Alice, the girl in the coffee shop with the far away look in her eyes. For a good book has no ending for with every reading it begins anew, continuing the cycle of imagination and exploration.

Half way and counting

Day 050/100

Well the half way mark has been reached, never though I would actually survive this long. As any one knows diets are fickle creatures, and keeping the monster tamed is quite the challenge. I am delighted to say followers now number 28 which is brilliant and thanks to all who signed up. In addition thanks to everyone who pushed the like button, much appreciated. As you have guessed at this point I tend to write about what ever takes my interest on the day, and the inspiration can begin with a conversation, email, written piece or some other insignificant snippet that when considered can lead to a wide variety of strange and interesting places. On filling in my Vacant Pages over the last seven weeks I have have been introduced to an amazing profusion of other blogs, learning about everything from cooking, writing, photography, economics, religion, learning and too many others to name. This enterprise was begun to keep my on the straight and narrow, and to help prevent me from thinking about food, it is a strange approach but one that seems to be working, who would have thought. Thanks to everyone who has taken time out of their day to stop by and I hope in the coming weeks I’ll get introduced to more wonderful postings from across the globe and hopefully continue to enlighten everyone about the trials and tribulations that is Vacant Pages. In closing this is a traditional Irish Blessing and I hope it finds all of you in good health and spirits.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

Silence is golden

Day 035/100

Sitting here in bed I can hear nothing, not a sound, a whisper or an echo. It is as if the world around me has fallen quietly into a dark and dreamless sleep, where dark shadows move silently, caressing the long trodden pathways of road and field. While the wind slowly works her way through the heavy laden branches, that curve downwards under the burden of their richly green leaves. The foxgloves seem to invade the edges of the pathways, never daring to move closer for fear of destruction. Long gone the fluttering wings and calls of the winged interlopers, feeding upon the treasures unearthed by the heavy rain. The rivulets of water cascading down the solid glass, cutting down the sweet pea like an imaginary scythe. The day long gone, the night has closed upon us, and we will only be released as the dawn begins to break and the cycle of the waking hours returns. I am a trespasser into this world and as such must wait my turn to discern the hidden voices of the night.

Blooms and Barnacles

Day 032/100

As you may or may know today is Bloomsday in Dublin, where a number of people, dress up and reenact Leopold Blooms journey through the city. He is the main character from James Joyce’s book Ulysses. It is believed that the story is an account of how Joyce met his wife Nora Barnacle. The whole story takes place in Dublin starting at eight on the morning of June 16th until the early hours of the 17th. And today is a day where some of the more eclectic residents of Dublin come out to celebrate. Dublin traffic on a good day is quite challenging but when faced with a cyclist dressed more befitting of a lady from the turn of the last century can be quite disconcerting, especially if its early and your still asleep. Coupled with numerous gentlemen wandering the city looking as if they have stepped out of H.G. Well’s time machine. The city is colorful at the best of times but I am not sure how tourists to this far land cope with the shenanigans of today. I am sure they return home, thinking that the Irish are well and truly nuts and no wonder we are all raving drinkers. More than anything we do like to support our heritage and if that includes a few drinks and a bit of a knees up, all the better. And in all honesty to actually read Ulysses you would have to be three sheets to the wind, it is not a short read and the drink would make the time go quicker. To anyone who has read it, I applaud you, and if you were forced to read it, I wholeheartedly apologize. To all who are celebrating, enjoy the rest of the day and as Buck Mulligan says “When I makes tea I makes tea, as old mother Grogan said. And when I makes water I makes water …Begob, ma’am, says Mrs. Cahill, God send you don’t make them in the one pot”.

More information on Joyce and Ulysses can be found at  http://www.jamesjoyce.ie/


Turning a page

Day 029/100

Reflecting on yesterdays post about how we are possibility loosing printed news to the realms of digital space. I began to wonder to day if the same is beginning to happen to the beloved book. One of the writers I follow has a new book out this week and enquiring about it in a bookshop here  I was told it would have to be ordered, ok. This I can deal with, but on visiting their website found the only readily available copy was an ebook. This is not the first occasion of this happening and I am beginning to wonder if the book will go the proposed way of some newspapers, existing only as a collection of one’s and zero’s. As much as technology is a necessary evil at times, there are some areas where it needs to be restrained and let things exist as they have for centuries. What is so wrong with holding a book and reading, feeling the crisp pages between your finger tips, excitement building trying to work out who the murderer is, did the hero get the girl in the end, did the villain get his comeuppance and does Cinderella get to the ball. The beauty of a handcrafted first edition, the woven book cloth encircling the precious contents, fingers exploring the valleys and grooves of the embossed lettering, the crack of the glue as you open it and the smell of the paper, fresh, clean and inviting. For me my life and its relationships  can be mapped out through books, especially within my own collection, for each is the record of a specific moment or event in time, Chocolate (Joanne Harris) a gift from a friend on holidays, Bleed (Simon Norfolk) a christmas gift from my sister, Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carol) on leaving a job, The Moderns (IMMA) a job well done, the list goes on. Each time I use or reference one of my books I am always reminded of the person who was kind enough to give it to me, and even when they have gone, a memory of them will continue. I do not believe the same can be said for a collection of one’s and zero’s. Long live the book.

Newspapers a dying breed

Day 028/100

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18346130

This link takes you to an article on the BBC’s website discussing the downsizing of the New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune. Due to the financial downturn the paper will now only be published 3 days a week with the balance of information being accessible online. I remember being in New Orleans in 2005 and reading the paper for everyday I was there, the same as I would when in Canada or Ireland. There is not a day that goes by where I do not read a newspaper of some description. To me newspapers are a more tangible connection to the world we exist within, the fact the information is written down somehow makes it more valid and real, than the same information being viewed on 24 hour news channels. Ultimately, like reading a book it is the experience of sitting at breakfast or over coffee and physically turning the pages, feeling the thin paper, with the ink coming away, staining your fingers. As much as online appears to be the way to progress, in adopting this avenue, we begin to loose those master craftsmen and the skills they utilize, in order to breath life into the creation of a newspaper. There is a physicality to the process that can not, and I believe should not, be replaced in the digital age. Remember that in passing through any airport in the world, no matter what grip the digital appears to have, you are still solemnly greeted at newsstands by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Irish Independent, Die Welt, and Le Monde. Comforting to know the printed word can still be more prized than the digital.