Monday, 30 January 2017

On Co-Authoring a Book

A few days ago Geoff walked into the kitchen as I stood, vacantly, trying to figure out what delicious thing I’d make to address my usual early-morning low blood sugar.

‘Well G’day how’re ya going today? Well bloody hell you won't believe the puzzle pieces this book is digging up for us… Well look, how’d you like to co-author a book with me?

I grinned, partly surprised, partly not surprised by these suggestions that Geoff comes up with during the nights. I’d put the idea out there the previous day of him dictating an autobiography to me. Geoff can read well, but he finds writing difficult.

We sat down, I said ‘The Teachings of Old Man’, Geoff said ‘Guidelines’ and so I scrawled ‘The Guidelines of Old Man’ onto my notebook and started drawing out arrows. We pretty quickly had over a dozen chapters that we could write, mostly around health and nutrition, but also on Petford, horsemanship, self-sufficiency, NLP, reading body language, working with authorities, living with the land.

At this point I thought of the very recent publication of Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive it. It is the life’s work of David Fleming, and, alongside its shorter, narrative companion Surviving the Future, is lining up to be a permaculturalist’s classic source of comfort. The dictionary format allows readers to jump in on whatever topic interests them, and jump on to a related entry, forever charting their own path through the work.

At first perhaps unintuitive, the dictionary form takes on new life when melded with intention and published in the cataclysmic times of cultural transition. Instead of linearity, a text becomes distributed and interconnected, a system like any other: body, ecology, Internet, language. At the moment, it feels to be the perfect form to distill Geoff’s wisdom. It prioritises relationships and self-actualisation. It helps neutralise the information and emotional overload involved in learning about health, or its current corollary, the insidious impacts of modern existence.

We’ve only written a few thousand words so far, but the idea has infested both of us and spurred our research endeavours. In the last few days I’ve dipped my head into Heal Yourself with Natural Foods by Dr. Nancy Appleton, Life in the Womb: the Origin of Health and Disease by Dr. Peter W. Nathanielsz, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr Weston Price, Prophyria: The Ultimate Cause of Common, Chronic & Encironmental Illnesses by Dr Steven Rochlitz, Breakthrough: The Miracle Mineral Supplement of the 21st Century by Jim Humble, From Bush to Station: Studies in North Queensland History by Dawn May,  Alcoholism: The Nutritional Approach by Dr. Roger Williams, The Real Meal Revolution by Dr. Tim Noakes et al, as well as many more that aren’t in front of me right now. I'll post em later, promise.

I think that’s all for now.

P.S. Geoff just yelled at me: I’m having a drink of vegemite, do you want one?’
Hint: Use broth.

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