Books and Things
The month of May (Maggio) saw me invited to participate in the Local Authors Day (LAD) at Canungra Books & Art, Gold Coast hinterland. It’s a quirky and enticing shop and easy to get lost in; it really is a place of books and things.
Where I was located (for the LAD) was just outside the bookshop, and thankfully, for me and the other local authors, it was a glorious Autumn day. You’ll see in the photo of me with my books and things … I thought to bundle up both of my award-winning books in a silky ribbon and attach a PaperMate pen. I offered this as a Mother’s Day special price package. I also had a bowl of lemons from my tree, on offer for free, so as to get people ‘to look’, and even, as a conversation opener.
That’s the thing, as when you’re an author, it’s important to get out there and set up your books and things to be eye-catching. People tend to amble by, looking in the other direction (intentionally ... I’ve done that), and so, a casual comment, as they pass by, is a necessary tool in an author’s toolkit.
For instance, the author next to me asked if people liked to read books, and if they took notice of her, she followed up with, ‘What types?’ A seemingly innocuous remark but, in reality, guiding them into her circle of books and things! I say this with the deepest of respect as, how else can we get to just have two minutes to produce our heartfelt pitch on why our books are worth reading when there are so many stories out there for readers to choose from?
The written word conveys so much. Although, I might blithely term this article as Books and Things the reality is that for any author, their story(ies) have been produced from the heart whether fiction or non-fiction.
During WW2, for my father, who was a Prisoner of War in Zonderwater, South Africa for almost all of the war—after having been captured in North Africa—the written word, such as letters from home, was a lifeline to the past, present, and hopefully, a future. In 1942, my father, at twenty-one, was at such an impressionable age. The truth of the war horrors that would come out were not even envisaged and so for him, as related in Goodbye to Italia, he had gone to war to protect his family and in pursuit of the idealism of duty and protecting one’s country. Wasn’t that a truth for many of the fighters on whatever side they were on? Letters from home, therefore, (extract below from Goodbye to Italia), were rare and provided much comfort. #books #writing #Africa # Italy #WW2 #POW
By this time, I have become firm friends with the interpreter who continues to give me lessons in French and English. One day, he throws me a bundle of letters that have arrived from my mother. ‘Wait! What is this?’ My delight at receiving the letters turns to anger, as I remove one from an opened envelope and holding it up, see that sections have been cut out, leaving jagged edges.
‘Probably news about the war that they don’t want you to know about.’ I stare at him, taken aback by his nonchalance. Then, I start to smile as I think that it must be good news for the Italian army if they had to hide the information. I read around the bits of paper that in some places are ribbon-like. My mother would definitely have written about Mussolini and all that is happening in Italy. But it is still annoying trying to make sense of the sentences that are half begun and then cut off just when it looks like it might get interesting. All the same, it is a comfort to receive news from my mother. There is also a faint smell to the writing paper that reminds me of her floral perfume; this scent brings her face vividly to mind.