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Books and Invincibility

With projects popping up and fizzing out almost daily (a big translation job just vanished, leaving me in the red for the winter) and stress levels rising, I decided to take a stress-free two-days, putting some order on my bookshelves.

My books have a tendency to accumulate like driftwood on a beach.
There’s the big tome on the occult I had to check for a RE:CON job, that’s now sitting on top of The Colonial Wars Sourcebook and India: A Cultural Atlas I used for some bits in Hope & Glory. That’s why all three books are bundled with the Savage World Deluxe handbook, and occupy a chair together with a stack of hardback novels, Chambers’ London Gazetteer and The Starflight Handbook.
And what of the cobweb-wrapped pile of volumes on the window-sill in the corridor upstairs, which includes a book on grave-robbing, a high-school textbook on earth sciences and The Time-traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England?
A mess.

So I sat with a carafe of cold tea, and I started separating the books into more rational stacks, and then to place them on their shelves.

51M34X47JSL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_This experiment in domestic archaeology led to the unhearting of a cache of books on Taoism, including Barefoot Doctor’s The Invincibility Training.
Now this is weird.
I was pretty sure I had given this as a gift to a former girlfriend.
And yet here it is in all its big-format paperback glory, a little worse for wear and filled with bookmarks and post-it notes. So I was right, and she had really used it.

This discovery led me down memory lane for a brief moment, but then I got sidetracked by less romantic thoughts.
My opinion of Stephen Russel’s (alias Barefoot Doctor’s) books is generally positive, as far as self-help goes. Some of them, especially the earlier ones, are very good (The Handbook for the Urban Warrior is a snappy read) some of them less so, but all in all his writing style is engaging, and there is always a grain of skewed wisdom in there. I do not care for the pseudo-science or his recent disco-friendly spirituality, but I can still enjoy the Doctor’s best bits.

Now, The Invincibility Training, from 2005, for all its bombastic presentation (Total Transformation in 3 days!), is probably his last good one, a solid, intensive program for detoxing over a weekend.
The idea is to go offline, isolate ourselves from the outside world, and do a series of exercises while eating clean.
Sounds like a no-brainer.
And also, as the sort of thing one might try and do in August, as Italy slowly curls up and dies for four to five weeks – shops and offices closed, no work, no activity, only the leaden boredom of forced amusement as beaches and tourist spots become crowded.

I still have a lot of misgivings about that total transformation bit.
I do not want to be completely transformed! I am fine as I am, thank you very much.
But the idea of going completely offline for three days, put my writing and translating and job-hunting on hold, and just try to get my mind back at ease and what’s left of my body in working gear sounds interesting.
I’ll keep you posted.

Tackling the Second Draft (Novel Writing)
Meet Julie Hodgson

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