Illusory Flowers in an Empty Sky

Barry Graham, Scottish Author

I don’t use G****e, or any of its products, so I wasn’t aware — until a friend gleefully emailed to tell me — that it describes me as a “British author.”

I’m a hard person to insult. There’s not much you can say about me that would bother me, but this one infuriates me. I don’t accept there is a nation called Britain. I’m Scottish, not British. The fact that Scotland is colonised by England, under the aliases “Great Britain” or “the UK,” doesn’t make me British. I reject all “British” authority, and, though not a nationalist, I’m an active member of the SNP. While I have no grudge against English people, or any other people based on their citizenship, I loathe England/Britain as a political/cultural entity, and resent being mentioned in the same sentence as it, never mind identified with it. My only interest in “Britain” is in helping Scotland seperate from it.

One more reason you can’t trust G****e.

#britishimperialism #scottishnotbritish #scottishindependence #nationalidentity #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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Man about to be executed by guillotine

But who needs healthcare when you can enter an AmaZen “mindful practice room,” one of a number of “coffin-sized booths,” in the words of Vice, that Amazon is planning to introduce at its warehouses? There you can watch a video of a baby deer leaping through a field or whatever as you try to stave off intrusive thoughts about, say, your upcoming eviction.

This article by Jessa Crispin reminded me yet again why I dislike meditation separated from religious practice, and why I ask readers not to buy my books on Amazon. (My ebooks aren’t sold there, but I can’t stop them from selling my paperbacks.)

Meditation that isn’t part of a religious practice is a useful tool for making exploited people better able to tolerate their exploitation, and easing whatever consience the exploiters might have. To teach — or, rather, sell — meditation in such a setting is a violation of Buddhist ethics.

I don’t want scabs to read my books, and I’m disgusted by heretics pretending to teach the Buddha Dharma.

#amazon #mindfulness #meditation #wageslavery #unionbusting #zen #buddhism #jessacrispin

—Barry Graham

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The latest books from Dockyard Press are published, and they’re all very different from one another, even though two are by the same author...

There’s Belfast author Gerard Brennan’s second Shannon McNulty crime novel, Drag. And there’s a reissue of his first novel, Fireproof, a unique hybrid of urban fantasy and crime thriller.

And there’s Poetry: Not Optional, a meditative memoir in verse by American poet and mystic Lisa MoonCat, charting her journey from childhood to adulthood and beyond.

The ebooks are available direct from Dockyard Press and all the usual outlets except for Amazon, and the paperbacks from all good bookshops… and the bad one, Amazon, because we can’t stop them. Please don’t buy them there.

#books #crimefiction #urbanfantasy #poetry #gerardbrennan #lisamooncat #dockyardpress

—Barry Graham

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The Life and Zen Haiku Poetry of Santoka Taneda by Sumita Oyama, translated by William Scott Wilson

passing through by Tom Leonard

The View from the Train by Patrick Keiller (reread)

General Intellects by McKenzie Wark

Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Slavoj Zizek (reread)

The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China (reread)

#monthlyreads #books #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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Bob Dylan

“Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet?

We sit here stranded, though we’re all doing our best to deny it”

—Bob Dylan

“A strange young man called Dylan with a voice like sand and glue”

—David Bowie

For a few weeks in the summer of 1988, in a bedsit on Woodlands Road, Glasgow, I spent my nights hacking at a manual typewriter, writing a horror novel, which would be published by Bloomsbury the following year. While writing, I listened to one album on repeat: Desire by Bob Dylan. One song in particular, “Isis,” affected me profoundly with its line, “I came to a high place of darkness and light,” so much so that I used the last four words of it for the book’s title.

I was 22, and had been under Dylan’s spell for about three years. That spell has still not been broken. I’m one of many writers who applauded when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I can’t imagine my poetic or intellectual landscapes without him. There’s nothing I can say about him that hasn’t been said already, and better, by others, so today, on his 80th birthday, I’ll just say I’m grateful.

#bobdylan #music #poetry #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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Today’s mail brought Tom Leonard’s posthumous book passing through, which has just been published. It’s a treasure.

Read more...

Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem, edited by Harold Schecter and Kurt Brown

Nitro Mountain by Lee Clay Johnson

Ecrits by Jacques Lacan

Savage Messiah by Laura Oldfield Ford (reread)

#monthlyreads #books #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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If Lacan is correct that the I which speaks and the I which is spoken of are not the same — and “I” think he is — then writing in the first person is the same as writing in the third. Or, put another way, writing in the third person is a mask worn to hide that it comes from the first.

#jacqueslacan #writing #books #narrativevoice #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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The latest on the Dockyard Press Harbourmaster’s Loug is this poem by Bobby Carlson.

And I have a new one on Buddhistdoor Teahouse.

#dockyardpress #buddhistdoor #poetry #bobbycarlson #zen #barrygrahamauthor

—Barry Graham

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