First of all, apologies to those of you whose experience of yesterday’s post was a blur of pictures dotted all over the place. That apology might extend to every post – I’ve discovered that screen definition, or some such, will alter things like where photos are positioned. Consequently, some of you will have seen my self-erasure in straight lines… some like a manic collage. Sorry!
And back to books, after a couple of days in other territories. Today’s book is a little misleading – yes, I’ve nominated it for my ’50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About’, but in actual fact, I don’t expect any of you to read this. I’d be surprised if you did.
Do you want to know why?
Well, try Googling “Ruth Mary Hills”, the author. Remember the quotation marks, so that you only get the results where her name has been written in full. I’ll give you a moment whilst you do that, and I’ll just dust a bookshelf and sweep some crumbs under the rug.
Right. Unless I’m very much mistaken, you’ve come away from a total of ‘no’ results. Fear not, I haven’t made up this book, and used my limitless powers in PhotoShop to create that photo. It’s just that Scar Tissue: theological and other poems is limited to a print run of 75 copies. It’s not in the Bodleian. I can’t even find an address for the Amaté Press, who published it. I had no idea it was this exclusive when I picked it up in Blackwells, and liked the look of it. It’s a beautiful book; very white, clean, lovely font inside – all these things made me buy it. And now I’ve read the poetry inside, I can declare it an all-round success. I’ve typed out my favourite poem at the bottom (N.B. cannot find contact details for the author – but will, of course, remove if required) – but, as I said, I don’t expect anyone to read this.
So what is the point of this entry? Well, the Book You Must Read is not Scar Tissue, but what I shall now refer to as A Ruth Mary Hills, or an RMH. Hope that doesn’t mean anything nefarious. An RMH is a book only you know about, and which no-one else really has an opportunity of hearing about. Your copy is the only loanable one; you have an exclusive relationship with this work. Maybe it’s something a friend or relative has written; something you’ve written yourself; or, like my RMH, one just happened upon accidentally. I love reading books which aren’t wildly well-known, but an RMH takes that one step further – and gives you a great, unique relationship with the novel, poetry or whatever it is. I don’t usually sign up to Reception Theory, but in this case…
So, my question is – what’s your RMH? Do you have one yet?
The Christ child came to me
In mystic mode
As if to warm
A heart stone cold
I knew not whence or how
The sudden flame
That burnt and glowed
Within my frame
Yet on the way betwixt home and town
A wondrous love was in me known
Forlorn and mean
And quite alone,
Mere skin and bone,
Was I to whom
This love was shown