Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My book of lost things?


I gave some thought to writing a book about things that get lost, an enthralling idea, but not about ordinary everyday things. A book leaves you, the author, with many options, wide and deep.
For example, what if your shadow was lost, went missing, maybe kidnapped. (Should that be shadownapped?) Interesting!
The immediate thought that crosses my mind is, how can an author write a shadow and would it have to be in black (That should be thoughts). In the thousands of books I have read I never remember a shadow, doesn't mean they are never mentioned, no! just that I don’t remember them. As shadows tend to follow people and now and again precede them, they are often implied, we know they are there, somewhere. As shadows are created by light or lack of, whether natural or generated, we know they are there, somewhere. This begs the question, does an author need to write some light or sunshine before he/she focuses on the shadow, or are light and shadow part on the same equation?
One of the many challenges facing an author, not an easy job.
Anyway, back to the reason I started writing this, ‘things that are lost’. Where would you start looking for a lost shadow and don’t you dare say “Behind you” I’ve no time for cheap jokes or pantomime, well, not at the moment.
Is it easier to look for a lost shadow in a book, does size matter, whether it’s hardback or paperback? I could start by writing a ‘Shadow Tracker’, someone like a modern day Hercule Poirot who specialises in tracking and investigating lost shadows. Mind you, if we had to wait for him to arrive from Belgium we could be in trouble. The internet tells me that here in Ireland there is a detective agency called ‘Shadow detectives’ they could be the answer. Of course the ‘Shadow Tracker’ doesn't necessarily have to be human, we could design an android ‘Shadow Tracker’ who wouldn't get emotionally involved, would obey orders and not look for payment. (Sounds like a politician)
Once these points are addressed what sort of technique does he or it use and how do they track a shadow at night, questions, questions, questions?
Another question, ‘where does the tracker start, not in the dark, though this would be a good place to hide a shadow. To find one we need a Geiger counter for shadows or maybe an APP or scanner to measure the intensity of darkness presuming shadows are only dark, stroke, black?
Authors thought, can shadows be any colour other than black, is this an outcome of light versus shadow, equals, black? As I have just watched a programme on television about suggestions that the shadows created on the moon, during the landings, are man-made in a studio with lights coming in all directions. There is a small cohort of people who believe that America, Russia and whoever else are duping us all into believing man landed on the moon when in fact, they say, this is all ‘Hollywood’ and created in a studio? A theatrical production with lights shining or highlighting from all directions. The suggestion was/is that if the sun shines from the back, throwing a shadow, the front of the astronaut would be black. Not so! As the programme crew demonstrate, with the light coming from the back casting a shadow there is spill all around and this light reflects off the ground onto the front of the astronaut making his front visible. They go on to demonstrate why other accusations are erroneous, but that’s for those who want to watch television. The message from the programme was, man did land on the moon, so there.
Books about things lost and a lost moon landing is complicated, a challenge to any author.
Anyway, back from the authors thought? There are a lot of questions we will never answer here but let’s move on. A mirror would be a good place to start because you could see if the shadow was hiding behind you or maybe just standing there, half way up a wall and the other half on the ground not knowing it’s lost.
Another consideration for the author (I am rubbing the sweat from my brow at this juncture) should the tracker be written without a shadow, worth thinking about this. It would save his/its shadow getting mixed up with the missing one. Remember it is possible that a number of shadows will be missing at any one time. Surely if one can go missing so can others and you don’t want to complicate things, at least I don’t. If you found a shadow how would you know it's yours. Is there a mathematical equation for working out if a shadow fits your body or someone else's. Are they like fingerprints and traceable to it's owner. If not where does one store shadows found but not attributable?
Can shadows swim, float or drown, if not it would be worth looking at the bottom of a lake or river for them, ideal hiding places for anything that cannot drown or float.
Looking up is another good place to search, try it, a myriad of surprises await you. Things you would never notice in a month of Sundays or any other day lie quietly there. What a place for a shadow to hide, up there out of the way of man and light, bothering no one. Mind you I do wonder if shadows can climb and if they can how high. Knowing the answer to this question may save a lot of looking in the dark. Particularly if you are depending on sunshine which tends to shine from above, unlikely to bounce a shadow upwards, unless like on the moon the reflected light enabled this? Another one for the History channel.
Another authors thought-do people own their shadow or do these dark outcomes have free will, worth considering. If people have no claim on them, how can a ‘Shadow Tracker’ insist on them coming back home if found?
There are of course other things to be considered in the pursuit of lost shadows, what if they had a dublinbikes membership, the tracker would need to know this in order to keep up. The tracker would need to be a member also but this could be a problem for dublinbikes, do they take membership from androids and/or shadows.
If they did, just think of the other cyclists and onlookers as they see a shadow on one of these nearly blue bikes, trailed, tracked by an android cycling madly in pursuit. Could this lead to accidents or onlookers having a sense of delusion seeking cures from local chemists. Not to mention car and bus drivers alongside those people on Viking ships we see move through Dublin city on their way to invade the sea, the thick plottens.
Another thought by delusional author, what would happen if the book was lost, would that be the end or is there more to this story?
My next edition of this book will concentrate on lost 'Common sense' to be followed by Lost youth, mine?

JC-Dublin a City lost in books