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Man Of Letters


Today lets pretend that we are romantics. And romantics are dreamers that borders thinly on those that use drugs and see things.

If you come here often to shoot bull with me you have certainly stumbled upon this fellow. My dear fellow. He has really, really fascinated my wits to an end. Like some mystic creature. He does not seem the kind that would bother for attention any way. In fact, he seem the type that care zilch about being impressionable. If he were born in this day, social media to him would have been as offensive as that roadside fresh poo poo in a December scorcher.

I am talking about the scraggy man in a disheveled coat who forms part of this blog’s banner. Scruffy air surrounds him in complete nonchalance, and it does little to keep his quill pen from working across  his parchments. He scribbles endless letters with a chain of constant smoke blowing from his pipe. He paints such a picture, you must agree. The pipe held delicately on his lips and the stance on his manuscripts sucks everything out of his surrounding and here we are left with an immortal in his barest essentials. He strikes me as a man on a deep trance, long forgotten by the world behind him and only his pipe and quill and ink seems to resonate constantly with the workings of his intricate thoughts.

You can tell he writes for his soul. The frugal conditions about him tells he probably survives on coffee and a hard piece of bread to get by, but such deprivations does little to thaw his spirits. In fact, I wager the little he has makes him lively as a cricket on his manuscripts. For what is comfort but a distraction to the creative soul?

I have a keen(queer) interest in the eccentrics.

Few months back I asked my IT guy to run a wild search on him. It turned out he never caught the goose and I concluded the man in question could probably be a figment of a painter’s imagination. My fanciful thoughts took on a different tangent. And this is where our romance filled in the void.  I worked out he could have been an exceptional scribe in his day with an uncanny trait for adventure, only discovered late when he had already crossed over.  He actually looks like a man who can, in a whim, put on his hat and just disappear in the mist never to come back.

I have a fancy for writers of the 1700s and 1800s. I think this was the right age I should have lived, or I probably lived then and if reincarnation is a juice to go by I found myself dropped back in this sorry age.

New frontiers and colonies were just being discovered in that virgin time. Men set out on voyages across seas to explore and who could miss out on such adventures! Not this fellow with his pipe and ‘pens’ and manuscripts.

He got commissioned by the King of England to take a voyage to the South seas in one of those expeditions to ‘unearth’ new mysteries that lay beyond the English borders. Of course he was English. He was taken under the wings of James Cook to aid translate the native languages of the south seas  to English.  A Voyage that took many weary years. They landed  on a tiny tropical island and it is here that the man’s spirit seem to have found homage. Sometimes man travel to a new place and something inside him stirs. You feel like all your life you have been a stranger but here you find yourself. Nature seem to have been conspiring to bring you back home eventually. You look around and everything inside you leaps and cries for a settle. You never look back again.

This is what happened to my  dear fellow. He looked at the deer and the hogs and the colored birds in the tropical greenness and his body and spirit just submitted. They had settled in a little heaven of an island called Tahiti. Tahitians  seemed a strange breed of humans; a bunch of ivory carefree drifters whose days and nights seemed to merge in an endless adventure. Who could think of getting back to the uncertainties of the seas back to the cold old England?

He lived here among the natives, and they were welcoming people. He was a man of letters and he wrote for his soul. His commission here was, among other pleasant writing adventures, to translate the native languages to English.

The warm climate rubbed on him considerably and he fell in love with the people. A man, despite having a strange color as white, could and should not stay without a wife. And so one late  evening when the moon was shinning and the villages had slaughtered chickens and  butchered hogs in his honor, they gave him a girl whose breasts stood on her chest like ripe pawpaws. Anela the girl was happy to be taken by the man of letters, and they lived happily there after, siring a bunch of scrofulous white heads that learnt and ate and shit in Tahiti.

Our scribe, who at this moment I think we need give him a name as English as  Smith, finished writing a dictionary of the local dialects to his Englishmen, who as business dictated, had long taken a voyage back to their homeland, leaving Smith fully submerged to the ways of the heathens, or as the other English men called them, the savages. He had long discarded the British honor and resorted to wearing a pareo around his loins. The coat we see him wearing in this picture is  the last shred of British vanity that still hang on him. He had gone native with a vengeance.

Boredom got hold of him. He got tired sunbathing every morning and eating pawpaws and fishing and hunting hogs with the natives. So he got back to his trade of writing letters. I picture him on late evenings as the natives played drums and flutes and danced around the fire in the swashing moonlight, he hunched over his manuscripts writing one long letter after another to his distant kin. The letters carried with them the warmth and tragedies of the tropics. Here he poured his soul. He must have written an entire encyclopedia of the Southern seas before one undramatic day a tropical snake sunk it’s fangs on his heel and he never woke up again. Or perhaps tropical diseases sunk him in an unmarked grave and only his letters and about ten scrofulous white heads bored the evidence of a white man who ever lived deep in Tahiti.

But one day a group of sailors with a bible and a gun would descend this land and be shocked to discover that in this very land of savages lived once their kinsman who had written hundreds of literature that never reached home. And reading those letters was like looking into the primal soul of the deep Polynesia. It was a peak into the nirvana.


Now folks this is the problem one might endure when writing with the pen. Stories long far fetched and sometimes without proper head thrust themselves and forces their way in. Worse again when you now go ahead to rewrite the whole thing on a Ms word document. The pen as you might suspect quite accurately, has a soul of its own, a wandering character and seldom does it follow a trained line of thought. I am having a bit of an adventure here trying to focus on what I really plan to tell in this story.

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