Friday, April 11, 2014

The Promised Land

12th April 2014

"Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs, about the lilting house and happy as the grass was green...."
This apropos of nothing - they are just magical drooling lines by Dylan Thomas that emerge every so often when I put my mind to writing....even a blog.
On to the topic of said blog:
Given our advanced technical age, it's funny how after the book launch everything really still comes down to word of mouth.

My published friend tells me that after her first book came out (one that I should add has in the ensuing year sold over a hundred thousand copies - "The Bloodletter's Daughter," check it out!) it took months for it to start selling. Malcolm Gladwell in his book "The Tipping point,"talks about how movements depend on the 80/20 rule - that eighty percent of the work will be done by twenty percent of the people. And these people tend to be movers and shakers and well in touch with the zeitgeist. Oh, it all sounds very complicated! Who cares how many people it takes and what they are called and what they do, just so long as they get the job done. But I am at their mercy.
I suppose I am haunted by that phenomenon where an author who subsequently does very well (an understatement if I mean by such authors someone like Dan Brown, and I do) comes out with a dud initially. Dan Brown's "Angel's and Demons" did not do well until after "The Da Vinci Code" broke all records; there was an author in Aspen last week called Maria Semple whose book "Where Did You Go, Bernadette?" has done fabulously well, but who also had to suffer through a first stinky fish. She described that time as "public humiliation."
Well, I am much too vain and egotistic to want to go there myself, so may all Gladwell's Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen do their stuff and lead me into the Promised Land.

                                                            Karen Gilllis Taylor

The problem with promised lands is that they don't hold up too well to reality. It can be like Bert's chalk paintings when it rains in Mary Poppins. They tend to dissolve into globs of dreams and empty pavements. Still, being publicly humiliated is like never getting to jump into the painting in the first place. I'm not expecting this first book to be a block buster, but I think the series as a whole could do well, because the more I get into the story, the more it is exploring questions that we face in sterile modernity, namely what we sacrificed for this world of ours with its fading patriarchal religions and materialist vacuity.
I believe that this Homo Erectus that we went on to rename Sapiens ("wise" - don't make me laugh!) should have been named Homo Religiosus in the first place, and then we wouldn't have got everything so wrong. The "erectus" element has played much too big a role in how things have played out for our species. Time to turn the kaleidoscope and let the patterns re-emerge in a more satisfying order for this homo religiosus, this Femina Religiosa (that's what we lost, way back when the kaleidoscope got stuck on the erectus thing.)
There's a great song by Capercaille called "Waiting for the Wheel to turn," which is actually about Scottish nationalist hopes, but the wheel is a good metaphor for any paradigm that needs changing. Homo Erectus effectively threw out the wheel with the bathwater, and it's time for it turn again.
Check it out!

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