When an old man dies: Writer’s Quote Wednesday


 This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  writer’s quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing.

To write one must engage with the world around. Imagination is not the everything, imagination needs feeding with experience and observation. Life is what feeds writers.

When I was growing up, years ago, one of our houses used to flood each year when the summer thunderstorms arrived. Not serious life endangering floods you understand, but, when in the house, maybe 12-18 inches of river water would soak into furniture,soft furnishing, bookcases and record boxes.

After the waters receded it was all hands on deck to drag every thing out into the sunshine to dry. Most stuff will dry on its own, but books need individual and particular attention if those pages are not to set like concrete.

I liked reading them but oh how tedious was the drying of them. Couldn’t we just abandon them, I would sometimes ask, petulantly I suspect. My Dad was a patient man with his wayward idle daughter but when it came to books always took a firm line.

Books deserved the work,
they gave us enjoyment,
knowledge and the wisdom of the ages.
Kept past lives and experience alive.
We should be prepared to give back.

Not in those words of course or I would have walked away with an

‘ughhh boring’

I was a child for goodness sake.  No, he could convey thoughts in a way I would listen to and absorb.

Later, when I was older, we would discuss other such book matters such as the destruction of ancient Libraries, burning of books, of censorship, of history’s memories and intelligent reading,

Then on my travels I listened to so many strangers telling me of their lives, their countries, finding similarities and vast chasms of differences. I learnt such a lot from these people, tucking away snippets into my mind. Many, by the nature of my travels – cheap economical and penniless! – were uneducated, illiterate and ignored by the great powers. What they had to say was passed onto their families and friends and sadly, it seemed to me, no further. I only had the snippets.

All those books I had and still will read, fiction or non fiction, are from the collective memories and experiences of the world. We collect so much knowledge in our lives, if some of it isn’t remembered by others in the future all we are, at the end, is a congealed lump of concrete paper. It behoves us all to be sure our lives and what we took from it are handed down for the enjoyment, knowledge and experience of others.

A few years ago I began a Living History Group, where members write memoir/autobiography and we meet and read to each other. Make sure it is written on more than a scrap of paper I warn them – produce a book with covers, with importance, so that it will not be thrown away. Generations to come will read and marvel at our ordinary but extraordinary lives.

We can be part of the new books to come. Not the destruction of a library.

old man dies

10 thoughts on “When an old man dies: Writer’s Quote Wednesday

  1. Lifelover says:

    Oh yes!! What a great saying!! How meaningful!!

  2. alberta says:

    thanks for popping in – yes there’s a lot of truth in proverbs

  3. Silver Threading says:

    What a lovely quote. Thank you Alberta for reminding us what a wealth of information our older relatives store for us. Well done. <3

  4. Great African proverb. How true.

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