Friday, 5 October 2012

Paulo Coelho 'Manuscript Found in Accra'

I don't want to come over all pious but I just read this.
(Yup, it's been a quiet day.)
This is from Paulo Coelho's novel 'Manuscript Found in Accra'.
Interesting that we often assume that our sensibilities are modern.
I wonder how many of us would have bits of this wisdom tattooed on our butts if we weren't so... sensitive?

§ Even if you were to study your own life in detail and relive each moment that you suffered, sweated and smiled beneath the sun, you would still never know exactly when you had been useful to someone else.
A life is never useless. Each soul that came down to Earth is here for a reason.
The people who really help others are not trying to be useful, but are simply leading a useful life. They rarely give advice, but serve as an example.
Do one thing: live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticising others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.

Manuscript found in Accra 


  1. Rev. Trev, it's not even Sunday yet!
    I want to say something wise in response to the piece, but there's nothing I can add. Good stuff. It's so easy to be cynical and self-loathing; this is a fitting reminder...
    The tattoo idea is good, but I don't wanna end up like the guy in Memento!


  2. Ah, but if it's on your own butt maybe it's not for your own eyes...
    And 'Memento'.
    That was a film...
    I read somewhere that it was voted 'best ending of any film ever'.
    Seen it several times; still has me going 'uh?'
    I need to start watching it before midnight.
    Best film ending ever?
    Soft: Cinema Paradiso/Magnolia/The Searchers/Some Like it Hot
    Hard: Jacob's Ladder/Usual Suspects/Get Carter/Chinatown

  3. Best Film Endings Ever?
    I can't resist taking a stab at a few that come to mind. I'll bet the other folk would enjoy this one too!!! For me they'd not be shock endings which don't bear up to repeat viewings, rather the one's that have emotional impact, so mine aren't hard, mostly pretty flaccid...

    - Shawshank Redemption - Andy and Red reunite on stunning beach in Zihuatanejo... powerful and uplifting.

    - Serendipity - Floating glove descends through snowflakes in Central Park ice-rink.... Cussack and Becks reunite. Gray's 'January Rain' segues into Drake's 'Northern Sky.' Fluff but magical, moving fluff...

    - Before Sunset - Julie Delpy crooning and swaying to Nina Simone.
    "Baby, you're gonna miss that plane..."

    - The Jacket - As Adrian Brody and Keira Knightley drive off together she asks "How much time do we have?" to the strains of 'We Have All The Time In The World' sung by Iggy Pop!

    - Shane - Riding injured off into the sunset, Joey yelling "Shane, Shane... come back."

    - Jaws - "Smile, you son of a bitch!

    - Alive - Cannibals rescued!

    PS: If you have a lot of time on your hands, pick up the deluxe edition of Memento. You have to solve a bloody puzzle to get to it, but there is a version of the film transcribed in proper chronological sequence. There are several other goodies that help solve the many riddles as well. Answers almost all the questions...

    PSS: Now I see where your going with the ass tattoo... hope it's not the shower room at the gym!

  4. Stirring the pot...
    Eric and I had a fun discussion about your Best Film Endings topic driving home from Martyn Joseph's fine gig a couple nights ago. We added The Prestige, Runaway Jury, Fargo, and a bunch of others. Naturally, that led to our Worst Film Endings... like shooting fish in a barrel.
    But we came up with one bound to raise your hackles... No Country For Old Men. We both love the Coen's, but we were unanimous in opinion on this one. Overrated, manipulative, nihilistic and one of the worst endings for a big budget Oscar winner. 2 bloody hours of cartoonish, invincible, murder-machine mowing down everyone in sight, then cut to oblivious Tommy Lee's unrelated rambling monologue in the kitchen. Credits roll... Argh!!!

    Okay, what'll it be pistols or swords? Opinion or defense for Cormac and the Coen's masterpiece?

    PS: If you've got the the time... Your Worst Movie Ending?

  5. Ah, The Prestige; excellent film, Fargo too.
    Regarding 'NCCFOM', I think the 'cartoonish' element of the violence was deliberate, a way of heralding the new way; waving off of the old guard... illuminating the passing of worldly virtues where even violence and the means of murder were recognizable and therefore explainable. To me there's a bewilderment that bedevils the older folk in the book/film; they do not recognize the world anymore. Anton the killer is a soldier of destiny, compelled to act on the toss of a coin; he is an evil that doesn't recognize himself as such... the kind of evil that you cannot combat by simply wearing a gun. So, it's a film about control and the inevitability of change. The film is bookended by the revelation of two dreams; the first about the loss of inheritance (money or the past). The second dream could be about the inevitability of death, the sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) following his father's light... towards oblivion or remembrance... a dream being as transient as life itself: "And then I woke up..."

  6. Blimey, you shot me down before I could get my weapon out of the holster! I admit I kind of ramped up the simplistic rhetoric to fire up the debate, but you came back with an subdued and articulate rebuttal that left me speechless and mulling all day...

    I've arrived at the revelation that one of the "old men" is me! The belief in an idealistic society with some higher order, where good wins out over evil, where the righteous sheriff would triumph over the bad guy and ride off into the sunset. But as you say, the world has changed, values/rules have changed. We are often impotent in our ability to quell evil/chaos/randomness, especially in it's most irrational form, such a Anton. It's sad and difficult for me to accept that vision, fatalistic as it seems. Perhaps, the film/book's intention is to shake up our naive, unreal notion that we can create a world that operates rationally. Maybe the best we can do is try to "kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight..."

    I still can't say I like film or the ending. I guess idealism/aversion to reality is a hard thing to kill. But I thank you for taking the time to humour/enlighten me to the allegory beneath the surface. I've read a ton of critics reviews and analysis... satire, irony, humour, suspense, etc. were keywords. Few that I recall featured attempts at a concise summation of the underlying themes as you so adroitly composed. Ever consider being a literary/film critic?

    One of the Old Men

  7. When I read the book it felt like a shift for McCarthy; almost as if he were writing a filmscope/script overview rather than his usual borderline biblical prose; see 'Blood Meridian'; there's another discussion: Most Brilliantly Unreadable Books ever; I loved it once I stopped looking for punctuation or the end of a sentence or thought...
    NCFOM seemed almost conventional in its (bonkers) narrative.
    I guess that it was the episodic, linear approach. It makes it his most 'readable' book though not (for sure) his best. I think the Coens picked up that baton. I find it immensely re-watchable; there's always 'detail' with the Coens imagery and character development the repays a review.
    This film makes a great six pack double bill with Cronenberg's 'Act of Violence'. Now there's cartoonish violence and muddled morality for you...
    Love the Cockburn quote by the way; no wonder Bono tried to nick it...

  8. Blood Meridian... the blackest book ever? I couldn't get through it, I was so horrified by the prose (felt like I needed a bath); but even more the punctuation!!! I get flustered with bad spelling and punctuation, although guilty of a multitude of sins myself. Limited High-school grammar. I don't use spell-check. I can't bring myself to place quotation marks after a comma or period; it just doesn't look right! Semicolons confuse me. And I love to use ... But Cormac, could he not hire a proofreader and give us a bloody break? I get dizzy reading his stuff. I got through Pretty Horses and The Road, sort of...

    Excellent interview with Harold Bloom on Blood Meridian here:,29214/

    I watched a rare interview with Cormac on Oprah I think it was. He's certainly the eccentric, and likable in a curmudgeonly sort of way. Unrepentent about punctuation... "There is no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks" he says. Of course he would omit my quote marks!

    You mentioned muddled morality tales, have you seen Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan? One of the best "sleepers" of the genre. Billy Bob's performance heart-breaking. Act of Violence I didn't find cartoony for some reason, although based on a comic. A difficult but entertaining watch, with a somewhat satisfying ending for me.

    Also, a few months ago they ran a series of films on an Arts channel here under the theme "Broken Britain." Eden Lake, Harry Brown, Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael, Outlaw and a couple that I missed. I was absolutely shocked that these "hoodie" kid thugs exist in Britain. I was reminded of what I wrote yesterday... The world has changed, values/rules have changed. My God, I just hope these stories are highly exaggerated or fabricated for the movies!!!

    Signing off Captain. Old man off to bed...

  9. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you got to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Why your ex will NEVER come back...