This original poetry and colouring book will help you to meditate, concentrate, leave the pressures of the world behind and explore the magical world of poems, through which you can organize your thoughts, relax, be creative and get new energy and inspiration.
Enter the magical world of numbers, experiencing them through poetry and exploring them with coloured pens and pencils; indulge your imagination, adding more shapes, and images and colours, giving full rein to your creative self.
THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK OF NUMBERS
The Book of Numbers came, bizarrely perhaps, into existence because of the end of a relationship. There I was sitting in a living/waiting room of a house I was renting, displaced from my one-time home, feeling myself to be deeply alone and more than alone – in fact, back to zero. No longer was there the excitement at a phone call or a text ping, no longer the opening up of feeling, the getting to know, the ‘sharedness’ of meal-times, of beds and explorations. The leaving of all that ‘sharedness’, that ‘double-ness’ of being, didn’t feel to be rendering me back as one, but as none. I sat there and started to feel a sense of wonder at this feeling, and then this notion, of nothingness, of none. I got up from the sofa, intrigued, and sat at my desk and drew the circle, the oval, of zero and, under it, started to write; I found ‘none’ not to be just ‘nothing’ and ‘nothing’ not to be just ‘no-thing’, but to be potentiality and to be scope for potentiality – to be womb. From none to womb. Then, with one (1), I found myself thinking about the ‘one’ that does not fit, the ‘one’ that stands alone and, also, about the electronic binary world of that constant, quasi-infinite discourse between 0 and 1.
And so it went on from number to number. I found myself thinking about the seemingly inevitable psychological dynamics that derive from each number of participants in any drama of life; thinking about numbers as shapes in themselves and what the shape of each Arabic numeral says about the number itself; thinking about numbers in relation to socio-cultural phenomena, such as religions and other belief systems, and political movements and struggles and constructs; thinking about numbers in relation to humungous physical realities, such as the planetary system and constellations.
And, odd things happened on the way.
In 6, for example, I found myself, almost immediately, thinking about the planet Jupiter and describing it as six places from the sun. At the time, I couldn’t remember whether it was the fifth or sixth planet from the sun and I thought to myself that I would check that later and would be intrigued to see whether I was right or wrong. I did discover that I was wrong but, then again, I discovered that I was not entirely wrong in that Ceres, the largest dwarf planet in the solar system, is between Mars and Jupiter. Had something/someone guided me into giving Ceres a value? I think it/he/she had. And I think I know why. Another major dwarf planet in the solar system is Pluto; if Ceres is disregarded as a significant entity in the solar system, then Pluto also becomes insignificant, but Pluto is the astrological planet of my astrological sign: Scorpio.
Things went on, numbers came and went, with their stories, and feelings and senses of self, until I came to 12. By 12, I was thinking about the 12 disciples but also about the completeness, somehow, of 12 in terms, oddly perhaps, of its extensive array of divisibility into fractions of itself, rendering it such an amazing unit of measure for architects and observers of the heavens. I’d always hated studying fractions at school, but here I was, entranced by them. And, I’d never thought before about the cosmic coincidence that the moon circles the earth almost exactly 12 times in the time it takes the earth to circle the sun. Why 12? Just pure chance to be offering such an almost perfect fractional divisibility of the year, matching the seasons in temporate climes, north and south, themselves (just?) derived from the earth’s pitch of axis of spin, veering towards and veering away from the sun, in its ellipse around the constant arrival of starlight …
By 12, the writing had saved me. I was reasonably at ease in my once-troubled emotional self – perhaps it had been rather too easy a move from the specifics and dynamics of feeling into a kind of awe at abstracts and immensities, however related back to specific generalities. And yet, I had had a chance, through the set, to review all my other relationships to that point in time and to see each and all in relation to each other … to get perspective. I had withdrawn into the abstract and found the elemental, the systems of the almost eternal.
But there was something else. I noticed how numbers took on meaning by the context one gave them. I noticed also that I was often, in the poems, within a grammatical context of reference, using pronouns (I, me and you, particularly) and how these took on meanings by the context one gave them. As with numbers, they had myriad meaning potential if one played with the contexts one could set up around them.
I ended with 12, which, with 0, created 13 poems in all in the set. Unlucky number! And, luck hadn’t been good up to then and for some time after. But, 12 seemed to be about completeness, though a completeness in divisibility, but also a completeness in the completeness of a foot of inches, a year of months, a cycle through the constellations, the piano keys within an octave. It seemed to be about a completeness of self as well, or that is how it felt at the time and, then, it ended with the words I am my own completion. Well, actually, no, it ended with an ellipsis as in I am my own completion ... . Even then, 12 didn’t quite believe it was its own completion or, even perhaps, that anything could or should be its own completion. Later on, 13 got prompted into being, and 13 is about a new ‘coupling’, however hesitant and, maybe, fraught, and the ending of 12 got cut back by a line. There was a kind of a circle here overall from the sense of emptiness and ending, in 0, to the sense of extendedness in the complexes of aiming at re-engaging, in 13.
One day I sent the poems to Anna, on a whim. She liked them and it was her, in fact, who asked for 13; then, being a generous soul, she made them into this beautifully designed and illustrated book … not a book so much as a work of art. She added a ‘female’ through the images to find better the female hidden in the text, who was always there given the non-specificity of pronouns and numbers. With the images and the scope for colouring slowing down the whole experience of the poems, the abstracts and concerns can play out in more ways than they ever did as mere text when there were just words, little points of connection in infinity. (And, continuing the themes of finding and matching and extending, oddly enough, Anna is a Scorpio too. Maybe, to some degree, it takes a Scorpio to understand a Scorpio – people of the 11th sign within the calendar year are always, somehow, clones of each other.)
AND THE STORY BEHIND THE ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE BOOK OF NUMBERS
It is polite and humble of David to say that my designing and illustrating the book was generous, but the reality is rather different. It was an impulse of creativity, gratefulness and, most of all, inspiration, triggered by the poems and David’s personality – it had nothing to do with generosity. It was the way his being and poems inspired me that made me think of illustrating the book in the first place. His ability to create worlds with words is at the core of all his texts, whether poetic or grammatical, and one does not cease to be surprised and amazed by the insights he brings into both worlds.
When David revived, in a very creative way, the horrid graphical elements in the first edition of the book, I had the idea of making the book into something bigger, something more creative and inspirational for other people by turning it into a colouring book that can help others, just as it/he has helped me. It can enable one to meditate, concentrate and relax, and to flow into a magical world, where the words of poems speak directly to one’s soul and allow one to visualize a very special world, rest in it and gain a deeper and better understanding of oneself.