Surf "Below the Surface", moderated by Ella at Steve's place Azur, 17/11/2020
The booksurf on the 13th November on the theme of Privilege took place in central TelHard-copy gatherings are a rare thing these days. And it did seem that booksurfs, in which eight people sit huddled together in a host’s living-room for a few hours, may well have been a thing of the past, and yet another thing to reminisce about……but then Steve and Miri offered their outdoor-sub-pergola porch for booksurfing purposes and normality re-established itself. So we met, sat outdoors, wore our jackets, covered ourselves with blankets, drank hot soup, settled our lap-dogs on our laps and launched into a ‘surf’ on the theme of Below the Surface.
Janice Wasser started off with a couple of texts from Light the darkness: writers on creativity inspiration and the artistic process, compiled by Joe Fassler. The texts describe circumstances and factors that triggered and motivated individual writers to write. One writer had made writing his vocation after hearing a single phrase, that had been particularly resonant to him.
The next text read and presented by Stephanie Bier was, Mudlarking: Lost and found on the River Thames by Lara Maiklem, which describes the questionable pastime of raking and sorting through mud on the banks of that river, in search of discarded items. The extract Stephanie read tells the story of how a set of old print fonts were thrown into the river by one of its creators in a fit of anger, over one hundred years ago.
Doron Greenspan then read a poem called Beneath the Skin by Shreya Sahni. The poem opens with the lines, There are a thousand different shades/beneath the colour of my skin and Sahni goes on to describe the forces and materials that have coloured these various shades.
Jessica Sandler then read from Early Possessions by Ann Tyler, in which a woman views the possessions and even people in her life, as in encumbrance, and ponders paring her life down to the bare minimum.
Nadav them gave us his rendering of Monty Pythons ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ skit, in which two characters converse, implying that there are all sorts of naughty goings-on below the surface, when in fact there aren’t.
We were then introduced to the concept of speculative-fiction by Gunther Oakey who read a text in that genre called ‘The day we woke up’ which he wrote himself. The piece served as a refreshingly positive antidote to the doom and gloom prophecies for the future we hear all too often. Steve, our host, read Considering the Greenland Shark taken from the London Review of Books and written by Katherine Rundell. The piece describes this lumbering sea creature that lives for hundreds of years at great depths, moves very slowly and smells of urine.
Finally I read an extract from Underland by Robert Macfarlane, which describes the cavernous city of darkness that lies below the City of Lights, Paris.
And then we all went home happy..