‘But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person…’ Carl Sagan
There is always, for the reader, the thrill of turning a corner, so to speak, and discovering a new writer. It’s not that I need (I tell myself) another evocative memoir to read; it’s not that I need another book to add to the already towering pile…or perhaps I do.
Finding a hidden gem of a book is often the chance to see a landscape through new eyes; or to linger over a piece of history that has been recorded by an ear sensitively attuned to the nuances of the moment. It can give us the opportunity to contemplate even a single, solitary, sombre phrase that enriches our understanding of something epic. It might inspire us to write of our own time, in our own way.
Perhaps those are gifts we should always give ourselves.
So I just discovered: John Guest; Broken Images, A Journal
He wrote only one book.
It’s written beautifully about here, at Neglected Books website, with a few representative quotes from the book:
‘The tide was far out. It had stopped raining, and the air was deliciously fresh and salty. Blue rifts were breaking in the clouds above, spreading a benign evening serenity and radiance. The shore here is so flat that the sea recedes almost out of sight, leaving a sheer glistening level of sand that is so immense on all sides, so featureless, as to be actually thrilling. Walking towards the sea, and looking to my right and left, I could see nothing but the level shore and, driven into the sand, miles and miles of solitary poles running, for all I knew, to infinity.’
‘Can you imagine it? Like a dream, or the background of one of Dali’s strange thoughts.’
‘There being nothing except this luminous waste, the vistas of bare poles like intervals of time, the complete silence and the soft warm light spreading down from the sky, my crisis seemed to drain from me into nothing–there was nothing to hold it or reflect it back; it just flowed away. I don’t think I even thought about anything. I walked and walked towards the sea conscious only of the release and silence one feels with the sudden cessation of pain….’
Beautiful. And the good news is that there are a few copies out there available online. (I always consider that to be Good News!)
Be sure to check out The Neglected Books Page…it’s the cyber version of finding oneself in a marvelously dusty, wonderfully cluttered aisle of an old book store.