Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Cometh The Hour . . .
THE latest entry on our Poem page (see right-hand column) is Manners, from American writer Elizabeth Bishop. Manners are vital, even in today's busy world where we're all supposedly equal and formalities cast aside. For we all appreciate being treated well and respond in kind; good manners earn you respect, which we all like too.
Author Evelyn Waugh observed that Americans use manners to get closer to each other, while the English use them to keep one another at arm's length. If you've experienced American hospitality or, alternatively, become a new resident in a posh English neighbourhood, you'll know what he meant.
Happily, books are open for all to enjoy or share. We have a fresh novel to be published for spring which aims to bridge traditional values with our troubled, divided world. The Lost Hero draws us into current controversies but pays homage to those basic tenets of family, faith and fairness.
I hoped the book might help put matters in perspective but can't claim the full credit. Its theme was the result of a dream and a different approach employed in its writing, inspired by crime-thriller writer Peter Robinson. Rather than plotting ahead, the events and characters unravelled as the story went onward. Or, some would say, it was left to God's will. Amazingly, this worked out and provided unexpected twists. Even the hero of its title turned out not to be lost, but within each one of us - waiting to be found. As ever, the end result is for readers to judge.
Another book on the way, or promised, was Borrowed Times. This humorous memoir was themed around our post-70th years being the most golden, but I'm no longer so sure. Over past months there have been more health setbacks and deaths of friends than ever feared, so that notion - and book - remain a work in progress.
At the hour or writing we're getting over unusually wild storms here in the UK, but have not experienced the seasonal cold of winter. Attitudes, here and elsewhere, to those who lead us, as well as where we should be going, have changed too. But we remain, at heart, largely the same. Our heroes might alter, but let's keep our manners and respect for all.
In the meantime, it's still the ideal time of year to settle down in warm comfort and enjoy a book. There is plenty of free reading on this light literary website, started by retired journalists tired of all the bad news. You can also purchase books from it, on Kindle and in paperbacks sponsored by the Arts Council, and so help maintain our non-profit venture. Prices are at the minimum rates recommended to us.
So, happy reading to all!