Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Authors' Ghosts

I think that authors' ghosts creep back
Nightly to haunt the sleeping shelves
And find the books they wrote.
Those authors put final, semi-final touches,
Sometimes whole paragraphs.

Whole pages are added, re-written, revised,
So deeply by night those authors employ
Themselves with those old books of theirs.

How otherwise
Explain the fact that maybe after years
have passed, the reader
Picks up the book - But was it like that?
I don't remember this . . . Where
Did this ending come from?
I recall quite another.

Oh yes, it has been tampered with
No doubt about it -
The author's very touch is here, there and there,
Where it wasn't before, and
What's more, something's missing -
I could have sworn . . .

by Muriel Spark

(I found this in New Writing 13, edited by Toby Litt and Ali Smith. This is a phonomena I'm well familiar with - aren't you?)


lil ms d said...

oooo yes. was rereading capote and thought eh? oh no i have amnesia!

Spot said...

me too me too! (said the secret sharon groupie)

i've been re-reading two trilogies by Melanie Rawn (genre: fantasy) and suddenly SUDDENLY realised what her message was intended to be.

there's a lovely concept in the Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman about a library where all the books ever dreamt of but never written are held. imagine that.

bibliobibuli said...

spot - loved that image of Gaiman's library of unwritten books ... i think there are a few titles of my own on the shelves

Anonymous said...

You can write that way.. very indirectly and lyrically. Then you'd have a sort of book that's open to interpretation, which gives the book that "ghost paragraphs" effect. Something like say Douglas Adams, or George Orwell. But you have to wonder sometimes if a cigar isn't just a cigar. But then it's fun to imagine that's never the case :)

bibliobibuli said...

yes, a cigar may just be a cigar ... but the smoker could be the one who changes, don't you think?