In Praise of Obscurity

Someone said to me today that the title of my new book sounded as though the content of it would be a bit ‘obscure’ for them, this in spite of the fact that they followed it up by saying that actually they are interested in King Arthur, though less so than the Americans. This very statement had an obscure edge to it that got to me. Who told him how much the Americans are interested in King Arthur? No-one ever told me so I regard that as quite obscure knowledge. But then I wondered whether this person actually knew what obscure meant, and did it matter what he thought. Was I genuinely put out by thinking that my book, which is meant to be read and not just left unread on a shelf, is obscure by an almost complete stranger?  I looked up the word obscure in the dictionary, to satisfy myself that I understood its full meaning.. It means ‘indistinct’ or ‘unintelligible’ and I quite like the thought that my writing has a little obscurity about it.  The title of my new book is ‘The Bardic Monk’ and the sub-heading is ‘And the Grave of King Arthur’.

Luckily I have not only written a book which is apparently kind of obscure, but I have also found myself a perfectly good obscure publisher who you would look a long way to finding if you did not already know them, because guess what? They produce plenty of what one might call ‘obscure’ texts, like the life stories of Bishops who died in 1341; the first ever book written about archery, and rare birds on a Scottish Island. Suddenly I feel in love with obscurity. Those who find my obscure book in this obscure publishers catalogue will surely be there because they have an interest in those things which are a little off the beaten track. They will not be the people who read the best-seller list, nor those who watch a daily soap on television. They may even not be on twitter or face-book but surfing around on the web for things that look a bit…well…a bit obscure…a bit what other people haven’t found. And that is where they will come across me. I will be there with my books which have so far assisted me in achieving a level of obscurity that is breathtaking. Four books on and relishing my obscure future I am now seeking another completely obscure story to write for my next book. Who wants to be rich and famous when you can be obscure and upset people who don’t like King Arthur as much as the Americans.

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