Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Book I'll (Probably) Never Write

I have this ongoing idea for what I think would be a wonderful book, although I'm not sure it has enough energy behind it for me to write it. So here it goes, out into the Universe, seeking to set fire to a compatible imagination.

At various times in my life I've heard about great things that have been lost to the world, and to the world of literature in particular. Wouldn't that make a cool idea for a mystery - with the main character on the trail of something that vanished years ago but then turns up, perhaps in nefarious hands?

As a rule I don't care for mysteries, but I can't quite imagine this as any other genre.  What comes naturally seems to be a sort of really intelligent Indiana Jones story.  "Intelligent," in this case, meaning "geeky."

Perhaps the nascent genius who will take up this idea and run with it will have other ideas how to write about cool stuff that's tragically disappeared over the years . . . such as:

1. The Library of Alexandria: The library was founded sometime during the 3rd century BCE and partially burned at various junctures before it was finally destroyed (by Christians) in 391 CE. It was THE repository for ancient texts, probably mostly Greek. Think of it in terms of: all the fabulous ancient poems, plays, and other writings that we have today are merely what survived the destruction of the library.

I heard someone suggest once that the scrolls that were saved were only saved because they were outside the library on the "sale" table that day, and all the "good stuff" was inside. Now that's something to think about. How cool would it be if some of those texts turned up!

Photo: Beautiful-Libraries.com

2. Hemingway's early drafts: All of Ernest Hemingway's early work (drafts and carbon copies) was packed in a suitcase, which was stolen and never recovered. Whether those early stories were any good is the subject of much conjecture, but if they ever turned up, they would be a fantastic literary and historical record and a rich treasure for scholars. And perhaps first wife Hadley, who took the blame for the loss, could be vindicated, too, somehow.  (At least one author has used this material, but surely there is room for other interpretations.)    

Photo: HemingwayHome.com

There are probably many more mysterious or not-so-mysterious disappearances (such as the libraries burned by the Nazis, including Magnus Hirschfeld's library - thanks, Jenny!), but these are the two that interest me the most.  Very fun to think about, even if I never write a word about them again.

4 comments:

  1. You're welcome! The more you know...

    It's always surprising to me that there aren't more books about the Library of Alexandria. It seems like there's so much possibility there!

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    1. So true. It would be such fun for someone to fill in the gaps on what went up in flames.

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  2. I think you've got to write it, and the world will be glad......go on....give it a shot!!!

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    Replies
    1. Well, maybe . . . but I'm already trying to work on another one, one that I actually think I can write . . . .

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