I wonder if anyone knows how many books are in the world.

I wonder how many authors there are on this planet.  Then of course, there are authors, writers, continuous editors and all kinds of scribbling in between.

I wonder what is that itch that tickles the individual to start writing something. Surely it must be a lot more than the psyche’s scream to be heard and for the creative soul to be seen.

For me, I remember standing on my brother’s bed that was pushed against the wall over which was a shelf full of books.  I was too little to read then, I was even too little to reach any of those books but a little weeny voice, maybe it was that of some dead poet who spoke to me that one day I would read all the books in the world and as soon as the funny squiggles that were letters became words that I could miraculously read, I found my hungry place.  My first snacks were the wonderful Russian fairy tales book that my brother used to bring home for me and the stories about Bambi and Snow White and all that came along with that, in French of course because we lived in Paris.

My dad was Russian and spoke of Chekhov and Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky and it wasn’t until I could master English and grew up in Australia I found that they had become my main dishes along with Guy de Maupassant, Flaubert, Daudet, Emile Zola, I even read the Bronte sisters.  I discovered Sartre and Camus that put me in a more contemporary and free thinking frame of mind.   Someone suggested I read Salinger’s Catcher in The Rye, of course I had to get to the futuristic works of Orwell and Aldous Huxley, I had to read Kurt Vonnegut,   Shakespeare happened at school.  The fads came with J.R.R. Tolkien with his Lord of the Rings and I swallowed all the intricate philosophical novels of Herman Hess.  Lost myself in the hallucinations of the works of Carlos Castaneda.  Travelled to other planets with Asimov and a plethora of Science Fiction.  I light deserted out on Agatha Christie and much later found Margaret Atwood, D.H. Lawrence where I drooled over Lady Chatterly’s Lover not to mention Nabokov’s Lolita.  A touch of Evelyn Waugh brought me some British again.  I suddenly remember the marvellous controversy that Philip Roth brought to my eyes with his Portnoys Complaint and everyone was buzzing that how could such a genius writer put words on paper about masturbation, let alone to be made into a movie.

Of course I read some rubbish, I can’t remember what it was and not especially because it was rubbish but I also can’t remember the mountain of fabulous novels by extraordinary authors that all are sitting gently in the deepest corners of my memories and can mostly be retrieved when I see their names in print, some have also become yellow with age on my bookshelves.

I don’t know if reading all those authors who were and are the architects of all those miraculous stories, created that itch in me to write, if those marvelous geniuses reached out to entice me to write, to find my own voice, to humbly follow in their footsteps.

There is no way that I can possibly understand anyone who thinks of writing, unless its for their own pleasure and family, who have not been stirred by the emotional constructions of those past and present authors and feel that something has been learnt and a unique weaving of stories emerges from the aspiring author.


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