Thursday, August 20, 2009

blue feathers...

Who says books don’t have an impact on your life?

About thirty years ago, I read the follow up to Richard Bach’s book Jonathan Livingston Seagull called The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. It was the first time I really heard the concept that you create your own life and that the creation of that life begins in your mind.

In this book, the Messiah, a mechanic who can do miracles and assures everyone he meets that they can as well, teaches Richard Bach how to magnetise things into his life. He tells him to start small, visualise something simple – that if he would hold it in his mind and expect it to come into his life, it would appear. Somehow, somewhere, what you see, strongly, clearly and with expectation, will come to you. You can’t be sure in what form or how it will appear but it will.

Richard Bach visualised a blue feather just to practice and a day or so later, he bought a carton of milk and on the label was a picture of a blue feather.
Ever since I read that, blue feathers have been a buzz for me. Whenever I see a blue feather, I am reminded that I’m in charge of my own life and that there are more things in heaven and earth than I can comprehend with my tiny mind.

About two months ago, a little kid came into my shop carrying a big beautiful blue feather. I went nuts for this feather, telling the kid and his mother how I collect feathers and particularly blue ones. The mother told me that HER mother owned a Macaw and they had heaps of blue feathers at their house. I told them I was jealous. I took it as a good omen for the day and forgot about it.

Last week, they came in again. To tell the truth, I doubt I would have remembered them except that the little boy had a pressie for me; two big beautiful blue Macaw feathers! I gave him a pressie back – a giant bug and some play dough. He seemed as pleased with that as I was with my blue feathers.

How cool is that! Things like this are reason I remain hopeful that we, as in humankind in general, won’t kill ourselves off completely. I know there’s too much thoughtless shitiness in the world but there’s also so much thoughtful niceness.

God, I hate to sound like a Hallmark card but it really is the little things in life that make life worth living.

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...on elephants

The other day, a writer friend of mine came into the Incidental Bookshop. I took her photo and told her that I keep a blog and that she was about to star in it. I haven’t got around to writing her up yet but I think of her all the time now because when I mentioned the blog to her, she said, “A blog about the bookshop? What on earth do you find to write about?”

Man, I wish I had TIME to write about everything that happens in this shop.
They’re small things generally, of course - moments, snippets of conversations, a young man looking for Ginger Meggs comics to read to his blind Grandad, an old man delighted to find Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn on the classics tables to read to his grandson.

Today, a couple came up to the counter holding a book they’d found on one of the tables. The lady said to me, “I just wanted to tell you a bit of history about this book.”

Well, you know me – I love that kind of thing. I had a look at the book’s cover. It was the elephant book that no-one buys: Queenie – One Elephant’s Story. It’s in one of those difficult to sell categories – true stories for the picture book generation.

Queenie was apparently famous the length and breadth of Australia in the first half of the 20th century as a people mover at Melbourne Zoo. She was elephant-napped in India as a baby and brought to Australia where she spent the rest of her life walking around Melbourne Zoo with a bunch of tourists on her back. In the early ‘40s she crushed her keeper, something most people believed was an accident, and was euthanized. Humans are so fickle!

It turns out that the husband half of the couple who brought the book to my attention is the great grandson of Queenie’s very first keeper, Mr Parsons, back in 1902 or so. The great grandson’s name is Albert Strong – a good name to be associated with a story about elephants, don’t you think?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

district 9

I love a good sci fi movie. Oh, jeez, okay, I admit it - I've been known to love even a bad sci fi movie.

And so it was that I have been looking forward, with saliva dribbling from my mouth, to the arrival of District 9 at my neighbourhood cinema.

I went along to see it tonight and what can I say? It's as good as the word of mouth told me it would be. And all the better for the fact that for the first twenty minutes, I could barely stand it. I detested the main character - he was a nasty wanker - in other words, the quintessential bureaucrat and I couldn't understand his South African accent. The aliens made me sick to my stomach with their crazy diet. The hand held camera and documentary style made it difficult to follow the action and I felt like I was on one of those scary rides at the show.

But something really strange and magical happened - the film sneakily revealed everybody's humanity ... or do I mean, alien-ness? ... and I suddenly found myself heavily engrossed in the story and invested in the outcome.

Man, it was gory! There were tank chases and helicopter crashes! There was stuff blowin' up all over the shop! There was every kind of weapon known to man and plenty I've never seen before as well. There was an alien ship shot down to skid through a Johannesburg slum! There were heads blown off and arms chopped up.

I tell you this to set up something happened on the way out of the theatre that had me and The Princess Bookaholic laughing our guts out all the way home. As we left the cinema, we were talking about how much we liked the film and how we both felt the same way - that we could have left in the first twenty minutes and would have been glad to escape. We walked past a group of young guys and heard one of them say, "Meh, it was o-kay.... I expected there to be a bit more action."


I looked at the guy with what I suspect was utter incredulity and then at The Princess Bookaholic. She was looking at me in just the same way. We burst out laughing and laughed all the way back to the car, making wild arm motions and coming up with crazy hypothetical action sequences as we tried to imagine what else they could have blown up and how many more creatures, human and otherwise, they could have 'sploded.

I looked back at the guy and could tell he knew we were laughing at him. I felt bad but he smiled at me sheepishly. I'm pretty sure he realised it was a silly thing to say.

Anyway, District 9 is indeed a remarkable movie, all the more because I so hated the beginning of it. I can't believe it brought me back from there.

In conclusion, I have only one more thing to add...


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