Never been a fan of Valentine’s Day (which is today). I’ve never needed the existence of it to be able to tell someone I love them, to write them a card to say so or to treat them to something special, be it flowers or whatever. It’s really just a commercial enterprise and I’ve never gone for it, though I’m sure it works great for some people and good luck to ’em. That said, I sat in a cafe today and did a little writing (and I mean a little) and I wondered afterwards if, as I wandered the rather quiet morning city streets of Liverpool, the shop displays I passed had secretly snuck into my unconscious. I think while I wasn’t looking a gang cherubs held the back door open and threw in enough red hearts to make a vampire go weak at the knees, themselves checking left and right, hoping I hadn’t noticed before closing the door firmly shut behind them. It’s the way that advertising works.
So, I sat with my filter coffee in a loft space overlooking the rooftops of the city, my mind consciously thinking about a book I had been reading on the train over to Liverpool. The book is called The Savage by David Almond. I’d read one of his books before (Heaven Eyes) and I wasn’t impressed at all but, when I saw it in college with Dave McKean’s illustrations in it, I just had to book it out and give it a go. I’m glad I did ‘cos it’s a wonderful little story and could probably be read in an half-an-hour. It reads a bit like a comic. Here’s the blurb about it from Play.com:
‘Blue Baker writes about a savage living alone in the woods near his home. After his dad’s death, Blue finds comfort in dreaming of a wild kid who survives on berries and the hapless passer-by. But when the savage pays a night-time visit to the local bully, boundaries become blurred and Blue begins to wonder where he ends and the savage begins.’
It’s written so simply and compliments McKean’s rather grotesque illustrations beautifully in the way that both writing and drawing aren’t poured over and made complicated by being too precious about them. It’s a children’s book but, like most great children’s books, they appeal to adults as well and this certainly falls into that category (but I am just a big kid myself!).
Anyway, with Valentines Day and The Savage fresh in mind I sat and wrote and drew and watched the world go by. For what it’s worth, here’s the little bit I wrote while my coffee cooled to lukewarm, done much in the style of the above mentioned book. I kind of found it like automatic writing, writing from a kid’s angle and I really enjoyed it. Must do more of it!
The leaves in the trees woke up and spoke dryly with words I couldn’t make out as the wind rustled through them. But somehow I understood what they were saying and it almost made me cry because it was beautiful. But maybe holding the hand of the girl I love made everything shine. She shone like an angel to me. Not that I’d ever seen an angel but I kinda imagine that’s what an angel would look like. Though I don’t know if an angel could look as heavenly as she does now. Her hand was like a sweet dream in mine and I wanted to hold it forever and never let go. My heart grew wide and I thought of the swell of the deep ocean and the king of birds high in the sky. I thought of the spaces between the stars and the secrets of the Earth.
I wont win any awards, I know, but there you go.
I finished my coffee and headed home having enjoyed my morning very much and thinking how well books and coffee go together. Not for the first time it crossed my mind to open a cafe/bookshop and I know just the place. Now all I need is an accomplice!
I’m outta here,