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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006
    Something may come out of it
    There is nothing to say about anything.
    So there can be no limit to the number of books.

    E.M. Cioran: The Trouble with Being Born

    No-one ever says anything much about death. Which is why one more book about it is welcome. And as anticipated, the Kotting book is a delight and a drama and at times a (healthily) disturbing read.

    One of the things Kotting does in response to the death of his father is to write to 65 people (one for each year of his father's life) asking them to respond to four photographs of his deadad 'in order that something may come out of it'.

    Though he encourages 'confabulation' and sets no limits on the length or size to the work generated, and though he even sends a 'deadad' pencil as a token of his appreciation for the time and possible energy his potential respondents might put into this project, they don't all reply.

    Those who do, reply in all sorts of ways: lyrically, satirically, deeply thoughfully; with images, with fictions, with memoirs, using cross stitch, and in doggerel verse. I've still got the enjoyment and challenge of most of them to come, and the first one listed (Ken Arnold) gave me plenty to chew on. Contemplating the Kotting project Arnold wonders, 'What am I going to do as a memorial for my dad?' It's a question which, on reading, you can't help internalising.