Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Avid Reader


I’ve been an avid reader since I was very young.

A very early memory is of me sitting on the sofa in the Prefab reading a “Commando” comic book. It was very exciting. My brother ran in to tell me that a whole gang of boys were going over the park to play football and did I want to come. I really wanted to … but I couldn’t. I couldn’t put the book down.

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In my early teens my Mother bought me a book to take on holiday. It was a collection of short horror stories. I read it on holiday in a caravan in West Wales. But there was one story I simply couldn’t understand. It was about a collector but I couldn’t understand what it was he was collecting. I looked up from the book and said “Mum … what’s erotica?”

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One of the most interesting and formative books I can remember reading was “Pilgrim At Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard. In it she recounts how, over the course of a year, she walks alone through the land surrounding Tinker Creek, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia. As she observes the changing of the seasons and the corresponding behaviours of the plants and animals around her, she reflects on the nature of the world and of the God who set it in motion

I particularly remember one story she told about how she hid shiny coins by trees and rivers so that people would come upon them unexpectedly and be delighted.

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Recently, when I’ve been out walking, I’ve been finding coins on the ground. It’s happened in Cardiff, Bristol, London and Pontyclun. At first it was just 2p, 10p and 20p coins. The last three times, though, it’s been pound coins. I don’t think Annie Dillard has been visiting Wales – I think people are dropping money and not realising it. I don’t know how that could happen, mind you … I can hear a coin drop at a thousand paces. The funny thing is that since I’ve been picking up coins, my finances have been picking up. Strange, no?

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I still pick up sticks, stones and pieces of wood when I’m out walking. I take them home and paint on them, sometimes sticking words on them. Recently I’ve been painting them with gold enamel paint and incorporating them into pictures. It’s something about picking up that which is commonplace and giving it significance.

Sometimes I take these gold-painted sticks and wood chippings and put them back on the ground in Bute Park. I scatter them by throwing them randomly as I go.

I hope people will come upon them unexpectedly and be delighted.

I hope people who find them will wonder what the story is.

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