Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cover Story 0004 - Ch. 1-3

What We Talk About Love When We Talk About Love
Confusion of the feelings
Days of joy
Nights of love and laughter 

These were the first books I put together this afternoon, not knowing that at the end there'd stand a pile of 27 books posing for my camera; 

At that moment an experiment was born: This story will be continued.

For the next couple of weeks each day you will find one chapter added.
This can turn out to be exquisitely boring, perhaps not.

Those who like can see a story developing, not necessarily always straight forward - or rather: straight downwards; sometimes a new chapter will be inserted. Even the title might suddenly change.

However, there's much more that can happen. You might find yourself trying to slip into the author's thoughts. 'Why would he choose this one for chapter 3? I'd insert it between chapter 11 and 12.' And so on, and so on ...
You might try to guess what the next chapter will be about. And when it's been posted you might be disappointed or surprised or amused or ...

What depends me: I am amused; the more as I would not be surprised if I surprised myself and what today I (thought to be) finished at the end will tell completely another story. Protagonists sometimes can be very idiosyncretic, out of the blue mutiny and board their master's command bridge. :)

Apart from such imponderables, presently there's but one open question: How to avoid repeating the idea behind this experiment for random first time visitors, again and again?

By setting three links I suppose:
One to the beginning; one to this post; one to the ingenious Irishman who put the idea into my head.
We shall see.

First, though, I shall sleep.
The peace of the night.


  1. A whole story plucked and arranged from the shelves at Seanhenge? This is already a rare treat. I love how it starts, and the way you introduce it. Anything could happen next!

  2. I am worrying about the state of you bookshelves now! But I am looking forward to the story unfolding ;-)

  3. Can I shock you Sean? Utterly and completely shock you, the unshockable Sean? I think I can... In fact I know that I can... with something that you will consider to be terrible, appalling... you see...

    A few years ago, during a significant transition in my brief life... (are you ready to be shocked...)...

    I threw out all of my books. Took them all to the charity shop in several car loads and gave them all away for others to enjoy. From then until today, I have never owned any books (apart from the few miserable specimens that have my name on the spine). I now possess no other books. I know the loved ones are always available in the library for me, should I ever need them again (which I haven't so far), and I decided that it was time to move on into somethings new rather than constantly referring back to things of old. After years of reading them, I actually have given up books for the past few years. I still read about as many words as I ever did, but in newspapers, magazines, journals and online rather than in books. But never fiction any more. I have completely lost my patience for fiction, having once been an obsessive. I try, from time to time, but the love has gone. As I age, perhaps the obsession will return. But there... Are you shocked? I knew you'd be shocked that I have no tower to tumble. My tower tumbled into someone else's arms many years ago.

  4. Stan,
    ... and it is all your fault! Ha ha ha.

    It's amazing what effect your post prompted. Such a tiny game, or whatever we want to call it, and what a fun!
    A fun with quite a few side-effects: Today, f.e., after I had decided which title would become chapter 4, afterwards - after almost exactly 30 years - I re-read the very title-story.
    Interestingly, while when re-reading a book or a story after decades sometimes I do find it even better, 'First Love, Last Rite' has not become better since. :)
    Which brings me to another aspect:
    McEwan's story is by far not one about the kind of 'First Love' I am trying to invoke in my friends, readers, visitors.
    Ah ... :) ... I should not 'talk' too much as I like to think of by adding chapter by chapter at least some readers might start to imagine ... to develop a story ... or several stories ... in their mind. And - this story, these stories will be theirs!
    And: Those stories will perhaps/probably be completely different from mine. Imagine ...
    Isn't this fascinating?

    Well, indeed, 'anything could happen next'. And 'only' because of* a certain post incited me.
    Thanks again, my friend.

    *Question to my teacher: because or because of?

    you are so kind. An unprecedented mess Stan has caused. :)))
    Actually, I am curious myself; everything will depend on what title I decide to put where. Very interesting, indeed.

  5. Ha, Andrew - is it really you?! You can imagine how glad I am (to imagine) you escaped Boltzmann's claws.

    By no mean, my dear Don QuiScottie, you did shock me.
    Actually I was - and still am - fascinated by what you were so kind to generously tell.
    Why? - For several reasons, as there are (some):
    - Sometimes I was thinking of doing what you have done. My idea: A 'Sean Jeating Library' in our village-school.
    However, from what she said one fruit of my loins obviously does consider my library the best I could leave behind when once - in 56 years or tomorrow - I am going to move to my last (ß) dwelling six feet under.
    - Your decision to throw out all your books reminds me of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's detective Pepe Carvalho: He uses to sit reading in front of his fire place and ... after finishing reading a side - yes, yes: recto and verso :) - he would rip out the very page and sacrifice it to the flames.

    Conclusion: I like both ways of getting rid of one's books;
    Thinking radical, I do imagine myself being Pepe Cavalho, thinking idealistic I do imagine myself being you.
    Now!! No! Being you?! Perhaps even in Boltzmann's claws? Nah.

    Anyway, you will (hopefully) both see and appreciate that once again you were not able to shock me.

  6. Oh. Well I will just need to try harder then, unshockable Sean, one day, perhaps.

  7. Andrew,
    could confessing that just thinking of what you did is shocking me from top till toes keep you off pondering about how to shock your most faithful - not to say dearest - followers (sic!) on your windmillish quest against ... against ... well you'll know, anyway ... against those unspeakables?

  8. Ah, thanks Sean. After some grappling I had indeed worked out the true story to tell that would surely shock you; but I feared it would lead to great upheaval in my current comfortable arrangements, as word spread and the repercussions began... so I am glad that I can now just keep it to myself, until the neurons degenerate and the "edit thoughts before speaking them" module in the mind decays... Something for everyone to look forward to...

  9. Dear Andrew,
    being blessed with the advantage that my English contains of an exquisite suboptimality, few seconds before falling into the feathers I do feel able to happily assure you taht although tey hardly will be able to shock me, I am looking forward to read what you think might be able to shock me.
    The peace of the night, my dear friend.
    And please! Trust Joan Baez and me: We shall overcome ... Ludwig Boltzmann.
    The peace of the night.

  10. Sean: What fun indeed. You write: "some readers might start to imagine […] several stories ... in their mind. And - this story, these stories will be theirs! And: Those stories will perhaps/probably be completely different from mine."

    This is what I've been thinking. Reading is a very creative act, much more than is generally acknowledged, and especially so with poetry and other forms of writing that leave room to imagine and space to manoeuvre — where the images and subjects aren't tied down too definitively.

    First Love, Last Rites was not the first, or the last, but the second McEwan book I read. Many years ago now, but scenes remain vivid in my memory.

    ["because" + clause, or "because of" + noun, so: "because a certain post incited me", or "because of a certain post"]

  11. Stan,
    [sorry about replying such late]
    To start with the end: Thank you.
    You are a great teacher. [This topic deserves a post of its own.]

    As for McEwan: By writing 'First Love, Last Rite' has not become better since I was probably (and deliberately) trying to confuse readers. I did not 'tell', though, he has become worse since. I could also have written: Re-reading 'First Love, Last Rites' was as interesting as it was 30 years years ago.

    And yes: Reading is as creative an act as writing.
    Sometimes readers' creativity would even surpass the creativity of an author. :)