Two Small Books

Published : Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Label: Works In Progress  

There are two small books I’ll get to when I can. The first is a book about leadership, and what literature has to teach men and women who want to practise it. For some years, I used to teach a university program in leadership and organisational culture. I speak and train in this field still, and that work has sent me back to some ideas I used to trade in, and some texts I used to plunder for the purpose. David Whyte wrote a wonderful book called The Heart Aroused in a similar vein some ten years ago. I want to call my book either The Art of the Impossible or Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There.

The other book I want to write is Small Good Things. Greater than the banal chores and implements of vernacular life, but more vulgar than the rare, exquisite or one-off moments and artifacts at the other end of human experience, are the small, good things of which a good life is made.

Taking my lead from a fine little book by French poet Philippe Delerm, The Small Pleasures of Life, I would like to write a simple (small and good) book of mini-essays on places, events, clothes, activities, animals, tools, weathers and so forth that make poetry out of everyday life, in my experience. Just thirty to fifty such things. Five hundred words on each; a book of under 30 000 words.

“Small, Good Things” is the title of a fine Raymond Carver story about the consolations of virtuous acts and moments and things even in the face of terrible grief.

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