By Paul Richard Harris | Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Friday, Dec 1, 2017
|When my friend Mankh - essayist and resident poet at Axis of Logic - sent me his latest book, photo albums of the heart-mind, I emailed him to let him know it arrived and promised to read it and write a review by the end of that week. The best laid plans, they say ... this book has so much meat in it that it takes a lot of grey cells to absorb it all, to digest the material, and to see it in its broader vista.
While I may have disappointed Mankh that this review has had a difficult birth, it is clear a great deal of very creative thinking went into writing the book and the delay is really Mankh's own fault - he has made this book accessible, enjoyable, relatable, but requiring much quiet and calm reflection to consider all the messages contained in the text - and there are many.
To begin with, Mankh is a very engaging writer - just click this link to source many more of this essays and you'll see what I mean. If you peruse his poetry as well, you'll recognize the same mind at work in the essays and in the poems. This is a mind that it is wide open and ready to receive and share wisdom from many sources. He is especially attuned to the thoughts, beliefs, and ideas of North America's first People. [Those 'First Nations' as we call them here in Canada, refer to North America as 'Turtle Island' and Mankh always declares that he is a resident of Turtle Island.]
Just ahead of the Table of Contents is a page with quotations from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Lyla June Johnston, and Bruce Cockburn. The choices that went into to selecting these writers and their words reveals a lot about where Mankh is headed with this book - at least it did for me in retrospect. I missed that the first time through, but I've now read the entire book three times, finding new layers on each reading. I get it now.
It is certainly clear that Mankh intends this book to help open minds, to encourage us to see what is around us and to learn to tread more lightly on our planet while living our lives with eyes open to the throbbing heartbeat of our world. A big theme in this book is 'respect' - for all of life, for the beauty around us, for all peoples, and all things.
Mankh writes, in his Introduction, "photo albums of the heart-mind is a book of resistance. To re-exist is to take a stand, take a stand against so as to protect and re-affirm a thing, place, Peoples ... I want this book to help you carry more light, more good energy with you and the good energy affect how you treat everyone and everything."
Each chapter of this book can be read as stand-alone, but there is a common theme throughout. That theme is to re-examine, to re-think, to re-sist what we have allowed our world to become and to re-engage our innate natures as part of the Mother Nature.
The subjects touched upon - again, in a way that is interconnected - includes the wind, earthworms, joy, truth, hot chocolate, music, mirrors, rocks, and much much more. It takes a truly creative and introspective mind to link all these subjects in a way that is at once comprehensive and comprehensible. Mankh carries this off perfectly.
The author takes us on a journey that will be familiar to us all, at least on some level, but largely forgotten by most of us. We are encouraged to see the interconnectedness of all things, to understand that everything - even inanimate things - have a spirit and a purpose. He has done a marvelous job of tapping into song lyrics and snippets of quotes from people we know, or should know, and then riffing on where those words take him. He invites us to join him on this journey.
As might be expected, the book has a dedication; in fact, it has two. It is dedicated to the refugees uprooted from their homes (65.6 million of them as of 2016); and it is dedicated to Stanislav Petrov, the Soviet officer who helped avert a nuclear war by using his intuition and clear-headedness to know the computer message about an incoming missile attack from the US had to be an error.
This is a book you will find yourself returning to. Often. Although it is a slender volume (at 160 pages), there is more deep thinking here than you will commonly find in much longer tomes. As I said at the outset, the book is "accessible,
enjoyable, relatable, but requiring much quiet and calm reflection to
consider all the messages". It provides an excellent remedy for what ails most of us, and I cannot say loudly enough that I wish everyone would buy and read this book.
On a personal note, I am grateful to have the opportunity to read this book (three times now) and for the chance to suggest to all readers that this is a purchase you would never regret.
To read other reviews, sample pages, and to purchase, click here and here.
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