How do you unload leftover books when they were published more than 3 years ago?

By , October 8, 2013 3:47 pm

I was going to try something for U-tube. I wrote a speedy, ropey rap, hoping that the visual humour – books dropping on my head/me in a cycle helmet trying to talk and gesture to the beat – would win over lack of eloquence. I just could NOT do it. I was paralysed – well that’s exactly how it felt, so I could almost justify the misuse of ‘literally’. I was LITERALLY PARALYSED.


Here’s the rap. I don’t like to waste anything I write. A very, very bad idea for a writer I know.



                   Someone prints your book

                   You sell a good few copies

                    But the world hasn’t shook

                  You’re left with some dead bodies


                    The book’s about human sheep

And a leader who’s a gross man

The spares are going cheap!

                    Just enough to pay the postman.


There’s more than 32

                    Paperbacks excessive

                     I’ll send one to you 

                    You’ll find it quite impressive.      

 (At the beginning of this verse a few more books have fallen, the box of 32 having been dropped at the beginning. You may have noticed the standard of rapping has dropped by this verse.)


A church becomes a cult

                    It’s packed full of suspense

                    You c’n see the result

                    For two hundred and sixty pence.

(The standard continues to drop. This verse will not scan without some surprising syllables being accented) 


I started to type the last two verses but they’re too terrible to expose to the internet (or the zero people who will look at this page)



































The truth about mediums, the afterlife and everything

By , February 20, 2013 4:54 pm



The first piece of armour of God we have to put on is the belt of truth. If we can find out anything about matters beyond the physical, it’s important to do it as honestly and earnestly as we can.


To have faith and to step out in that faith and see how it holds up seems a good start. For me it’s been a faith in Jesus Christ. Contrary to many Christians though, I think it’s important not to bolster one’s faith in dishonest ways. Don’t turn a blind eye to things that don’t appear to make sense. Confront it, ask the questions, seek the answers.


One big question is: What can we depend on God for? Some would say, ‘Everything. He’ll answer any prayer, move any mountain, heal any disease, protect from all bad things.’ I haven’t found that to be true. I can only say for sure that God can bring about amazing transformations in minds, attitudes and consequent actions. He works in the human heart and evidence of that can be seen consistently.  As for the rest, it’s a bit random.


There’s a great deal of focus on spiritual mediums these days. I’ve seen one or two things that give pause for thought and I can’t ignore that. It’s important to see how it fits in. Much is made of the idea of cold reading where a medium has a guess at an appropriate ‘message from beyond’. But there are a few mediums/psychics who seem too accurate for that to be the case – especially Gordon Smith and Lisa Williams. The only doubt I have is how much of it is to do with reading a subject’s thoughts rather than being in contact with another person from beyond the grave; though mind reading is pretty amazing in itself.


It puzzles me that Lisa Williams thinks John Edward is so good. Often he appears to be cold reading in a really obvious way. He has a woman apologizing for not thinking of her ex mother-in-law when he has said that there is a mother figure in the spirit (to 3 women of a similar age – old enough to expect that one of them might have lost her mother). When they all shake their heads (all the mothers are still alive) he remains insistent but extends the scope to aunties, people who were like mothers to them, mothers-in-law, finally ex mothers-in-law. That’s when one of them says ‘Oh, I have an ex mother-in-law who died about seven years ago.’ She’s the one! he declares, as if nothing could be more obvious. ‘Sorry’ she says being one of around 30 believers gathered to hear his words and help him out with suggestions when he appears to be getting nowhere.


Another example: ‘Do you have a child in school?’ he asks of a couple who look about the right age. They shake their heads (an awful lot of head shaking goes on in his readings). Nearly in school? More head shaking. ‘You have a child right?’ They nod, but then he already knew that. How old is he? Two. How will he get out of that? By suggesting that he’s a very bright toddler who could do with some schooling to keep him stimulated.


So – you can see cold reading. Other times you really can’t. You can hear accounts of near death experiences. These have very little in common except the sense of moving outside the body. Some seem like dreams while others have convincing snippets of information that don’t appear to be naturally available to the subject.


What IS the truth? It’s something to continue to examine. The answers to all but the faith question might need face-to-face meetings because people lie, or exaggerate or imagine things. TV programmes present the bits that tell whatever story they choose. But it’s worth a good look.





Hold On – the battle between the higher and lower self

By , January 26, 2013 5:17 pm

Getting control of an appetite is very hard. One problem is simply that it’s Hold On boring and only an attractive option when viewed from a distance (usually tomorrow).

“I’ll start tomorrow” is repeated day after day with some conviction and hope (how else could one keep doing it?). One shies away from the decision to start NOW. It’s too painful and pointless-seeming. But one needs to accept that pain, even welcome it.

James Frey’s novel ‘A Million Tiny Pieces’ tells a story that gave me a push towards the pain of getting oneself under control. It looks like hyperbole calling denying oneself cream cakes or cream sherry ‘pain’, but it can be REALLY HARD.

James Frey is writing about more than food and drink. He’s talking about every drug he can lay his hands on, but the extremes of his story translate so well to the ordinary disciplines ordinary people want to impose on themselves. In fact their very ordinariness makes them harder to maintain – after all, no one will die because I’m a bit overweight, so why shouldn’t I choose to be miserable because I have no self-control, rather than be miserable because I’m not eating and drinking everything I want when I want it? (because I am exercising self-control).

James Frey got in trouble on Oprah Winfrey’s show when he first had his huge publishing success with ‘A Million Tiny Pieces’. It purported (and I see still does) to be a personal memoir – but it isn’t. Some probing questions from Oprah left him having to own up to the lie he had allowed in order to get his book published.

He is rejecting (largely) the AA twelve steps program (implicitly, through the story). Though I see the benefits of the AA approach in relation to most addictions, you can’t help but be bucked up by his ‘I can do it. I will grit my teeth, take the pain and DO IT!’ attitude.

There is an incident in the story when he is about to give up and he’s told to ‘hold on’. This is repeated once or twice – and, in truth, there really is no choice but to hold on through those difficult moments of temptation when you’ve lost what the point of it is, any feeling of nobility or dignity in discipline, or any idea that there is ANYTHING that could be more worthwhile than eating that food, drinking that drink.

Holding on is so dull. It hurts. But … if you view that rogue impulse as a kind of enemy (or little devil if you’re me and a Christian) there’s some sense that there is a battle going on, and welcoming that teeth-gritting, agonizing holding on thing is a bit exciting and very satisfying afterwards. I’d say it’s good additionally to call upon some strength from outside yourself (God if you’re me), but that’s in addition to, not instead of, your own resources. I found that idea inspiring and energizing. Give it a go!

Leaving a bed

By , January 19, 2013 4:29 pm

Recently Y explained to me why X must be happy with her celibate marriage – sex and loving gestures equally dead. After all, I was told, X had been the one to leave the shared bed for separate rooms. X’s affair with the builder a few years ago notwithstanding, everything was fine.  She wanted things to be the way they were.

The one who leaves the bed is likely to be the one who does not like the status quo. The one who stays finds the cool relations comfortable. The one who leaves has been aware of the person next to him/her avoiding touch, and possibly other forms of intimacy. The other one is content enough to share the room and leave it at that.

A celibate marriage is acceptable if that’s what both partners want. Y reckons her parents were blissfully happy with their celibate marriage – after they’d had their two children. Who knows? We rarely have much idea what is going on below the surface of a relationship that isn’t our own. Is the public kiss or hug that we see the tip of an iceberg of love and warm actions, or is it the surface of an ice floe? It might be all that there is. We don’t know.

What can we expect from God?

By , January 17, 2013 5:03 pm

What can we expect from God? The greatest sign of his existence is his ability to change a human being and the direction their life is taking and their ability to cope with what happens.

Many people will encourage you to expect him to make different things happen. Many people have read The Shack and loved it. God didn’t stop a fatal accident in that book, in spite of prayers for blessing upon that holiday.

Good stuff happens, bad stuff happens. We cope better with either situation with God.

We mustn’t under-expect as miracles sometimes happen, but if we expect more than is honest and true, we will be perpetually plagued with those ‘why’ questions. Why did that happen? Is it because God does not love me/I don’t have enough faith/I’ve been rejected? We have to be truthful. Don’t fudge these questions.

Unequal relationship

By , January 17, 2013 11:50 am

Have you noticed it’s the one who doesn’t like things who wins? Especially up against an easy-going type?

So … can’t stand music or radio in the car – OK, we’ll have silence. Can’t stand the smell of garlic, cheese onions, kippers – OK, won’t cook or eat them. Don’t like the smell of flowers or perfume - OK, houseplants are out then, along with a few other things.

A different kind of relationship: Allergic to just about everything – OK, madam, I’ll ask the chef to cook your sprouts without the chestnuts, give you extra parsnips instead of the Yorkshire pudding, and see that the top of your creme brule is an even golden brown without any dark bits.

Can’t stand these wet, dark days? You’re a very sensitive person who must have these things right? I’ll have a word with God.

Most relationships are a little uneven. There needs to be give and take. But if there is an habitual taker, they may not be aware of the damage and resentment they have caused. They will jog along happily, assured that all is well, because they have won, hardly aware that there was a battle and that the loser is licking his/her wounds.

So – Loser … don’t become a martyr. If it’s got to that stage, speak up. If speaking doesn’t work (very likely if you’re at that stage) act and hit them where it hurts. Be a bit selfish and determined.

Winner … if you’re very comfortable, just check what your sitting on – is it a cushion or crushed dreams? Oh dear, that’s a bit purple.

Welcome to my blog

By , January 11, 2013 9:13 pm

I’m really looking forward to blogging very soon. Please do come back.