Friday, June 20, 2008

If anyone should be curious enough to ask ‘why “No Official Umbrella”? The answer is it is the title of my unpublished autobiography. That still doesn’t completely answer the question though, does it? So here we are … It is taken from a quotation in a book called KAI LUNG’S GOLDEN HOURS by Ernest Bramah and reads … “It is scarcely to be expected that one who has spent his life beneath an official umbrella, should have at his command the finer analogies between light and shade.” I read the book when I was still a teenager and decided that, as one day I was going to be famous (ha ha!) that would be the title of my biography. I could have used “Between Light And Shade”. That sounds good. Maybe I could use it for something else. But I chose the first extract because I knew even then I would never spend my life in some secure stay where you are occupation and that’s how it has turned out. Another quote in my life has been the motto of my high school, NIHIL HUMANI ALIENUM. The full quote is Ego est homo, nihil humani alienum est. I have a feeling that is not very good Latin because I have seen Terence’s motto written far more elegantly but, whichever way it is written, all it means is “I am a man, nothing that is of interest to man is alien to me.” A pretty good motto I think and one I have probably lived up to more than most of my schoolboy compatriots. Anyway, the biography has not been published. One publisher who returned it described me as “a most charming memoirist” but obviously charm gets you nowhere. I have been reading a book called THE ILLUSION OF IMMORTALITY that has been on the shelf for goodness knows how many years and, in it, I read that some years ago a New York publisher received a manuscript purporting to be the autobiography of Jesus Christ sent down to the earthly amanuensis from the other world. He turned it down. Well, if God can’t get His book published and your biography isn’t one of abuse and misery, then forget it. I was never abused as a child and growing up a white boy in South Africa led a fairly privileged existence. Still if 120000 books are published every year in England those are pretty frightening odds in getting yourself noticed even if you haven’t lived beneath an official umbrella and even if you have been interested in everything concerning mankind.

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