Memoir (2)

The response to my announcement that I will releasing my memoirs of Johannes Speyer this year has been nothing if not lively. From the high hills of Scotland to the deep caves of Cornwall, people have been talking of little else. And their comments, so far as I can tell, fall into several distinct camps.

To start with, there are those who are over-excited – and who can blame them? It’s not every day that someone writes a memoir of Johannes Speyer and releases it, free of charge, on the internet. Some have even suggested that a day be put aside for a national celebration, though I confess that this is, I think, more than the occasion merits. A half-day of celebration will be quite enough, thank you.

Other people thirst for further details. When will the first instalment be released? (this weekend, I fancy). Will there be illustrations? (despite the interest of several high-profile artists, no). Will it be available in other languages? (not unless you care to translate it yourself). How long is it? (I haven’t counted). Is it worth reading? (clearly, yes).

Lastly, I have to note the presence of a handful – just a handful – of naysayers. These human worms are putting forward all kinds of curious claims, none of which have any basis in reality. They argue, for instance, that the memoir is being released online because it isn’t ‘good enoug’h to ‘deserve’ a physical copy. This is, I think, a tired old argument, borrowed from the early days of the internet, if not the hey-days of ignorance. In these troubled times of ours, it is no longer fair to presume that decent writing can only be found in a book shop. In fact, the world is crawling with decent writing, and very little of it can be found in book shops. You only have to enter a book shop to appreciate this.

The naysayers are also putting forward the rumour that this project consists of ‘a hundred percent hype and zero percent content’. One man has even gone so far as to claim that I haven’t even written the memoir; that I am, in effect, publicising a non-existent product. This, I can assure you, is the purest baloney one can hope to find outside of a baloney factory. The thing is written, and once it is read you will be able to see for yourself, I trust, that the ‘hype’ (such as it is) is more than justified.

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