Why write

We are all made of legacies. In the genes we get, the cultures we are doctrinated into, and at the most obscure level of the jumping, vanishing electrons bequeathed to us by the stardust that begot us. We seem compelled to leave behind an imprint in the dust of time, however we can manage it. While striving to be something more than animal, we crafted civilisations, societies, rituals and religions, thereafter calling ourselves human.

But as time passed these institutions callused over killing thought and creativity, killing the very thing we sought to become—human. We could go back to that cave wall where we felt the first sparks, to that early song in which we discerned a pleasing pattern. Perchance then, by tapping into that spark, we could communicate with sentient beings elsewhere who call themselves something else, but who feel the same yearning to leave behind an imprint.

And this book is mine. I leave it behind in the binary code of an ebook, in the dust of the virtual world. As a reclusive author you learn to live with paradox. Which is that if you have wares to vend you cannot afford to be retiring. I find it difficult to upsell self, speak up and be heard, to ask people to read my book, let alone buy it. But that is what I do here with these words. Please pardon my retreat from grace into mercantilism, if you can excuse it, dear reader.

I was unable to find or locate an agent, or publisher, though a couple of times I came close. That is when I came upon the world of kindle direct publishing. A large part of me did not want to take the plunge into the unknown because I was afraid. Frightened of being derided for not pulling off a traditional publisher. In my society, this is a defeat, the kind that would induce schadenfreude in some. By turning my book into an ebook, I still am not able to validate it, as I cannot pimp it out or market it in the way I am supposed to. To be successful today, you need to be part of the connected, networked world, of which I am not a part. I have chosen to write in a time when you cannot live in a garret and get away with living off the intangible.

For me, writing is about connecting dots, delving into puzzles and these are everywhere around us. I need to understand the meaning underlying daily rituals and why they came to be in the first place. We take comfort in taking our roles for granted. We do not question how we came to be in these roles, or the generations it took to cement these roles and places in our lives. Perhaps it’s easier that way, less exhausting to not cast doubt all the time. But interesting it is not.

BLACKLAND

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