The Red Bonnet Letter #3

For those ...

... who refused to believe that one could learn a language by just reading loads of books (and what about pronunciation?) here is a short example of what might happen:

The learned geographer (Monsieur Paganel) gladly availed himself of the opportunity of making use of the language he had been studying so conscientiously, but to his great amazement, found he could not make himself understood by the people. "It is the accent I've not got," he said. [Jules Verne, In Search of the Castaways (1868).]

I am afraid you are right. But sometimes I think that pronunciation is nothing more than a bad habit mainly used for giving orders. Writing is less noisy and the world would be far better off anyway if people wouldn't talk too much and that's all about that.

In these days children are normally seen playing computer games, buzzing about with mobile phones, speeding away on skateboards or just hanging around and smoking cigarettes. It was on the corner of the street that I noticed the first sign of something peculiar - a child reading a book.

Maybe I was too amazed to spot the title when passing by but, whether or not, I knew on the instant that it was "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire". Bookshops were entirely stuffed with Harry Potter books this year and I felt quite haunted by those books (the same way as Mr Dursley must have felt by Hogwards letters when it all began).

Yes, I agree that Harry Potter (the first book at least, I didn't read the others) is one of the best childrens books ever written, and no, as I am not a friend of continuations it is very unlikely that you should ever find another Harry Potter book on my list here (unless it starts raining Harry Potter books).

Now let me continue with the continuation of my giving you a short summary of stories written by me, as I announced, one story for each year. This time it is ...

... about the Song of The Bluehead

Among the various crafts and powers a man (or a woman) can achieve there are two things which are, and will always be, beyond my skills. Those are cooking a meal and writing a song.

I do not mean to say that I am particularly good at e.g. writing stories or drawing pictures or assembling bookshelves but whenever I try there will always be a more or less tolerable result at the end to call it a story or a picture or a bookshelf.

As for cooking food and composing music, all my efforts ended up in nothing. And then, in 1995, I wrote a little something, not a story but rather a poem, although it didn't rhyme. I did it by first conceiving a real story, a story about a little boy living in the Middle Ages who was mistaken for a sort of wild creature, a Bluehead, because his hair was blue and he was not able to speak. Then, in a sort of evaporating process, I started to remove words. All the light words, those ones of minor importance, drifted away. Only the heavier words, I called them good words, words of importance, mainly short words they were, only these words remaind. And what I got was a highly concentrated solution of words. But I did not know what I should call this thing. And then I remembered that I always wanted to write a song and always failed. "Why not call it a song?" I asked myself. And that was what I did, I called it "Song of the Bluehead".

Let me continue now with another continuation, that is ...

... the continuation of the list

Let's get organized! was one of my favourite catch-phrases from one of my favourite books this year and to get a little bit more organized myself (I am really quite unorganized) I reorganized my list of books by starting each entry with a set of (one or more) quotations from the book in question, quotations I thought of importance for various reasons (which I have already forgotten, maybe you can tell me?).

So we have finally reached the end now, the end of my list and the end of another year (and the end of a long and weary night). As it turned out the new century will just begin with the year 2001, which means there is another chance for me left, which means that once again I wish you a merry last christmas of the century, a happy new year and all the best for the next millenium.


Yours sincerely

Friday, December 15th, 2000