22 Feb

I received an email yesterday from someone I’m honoured to call a friend. He has encouraged my writing career since I was around 14 – publishing my poetry, and later editing my novels, and still later publishing my play, and coming to my opening nights, and bringing constant wisdom to my life. Honestly though, Robin Malan is a friend to everyone who loves words and books and writing. He is dedicated to producing, promoting, and protecting words. Is it any wonder then that he thought up a scheme like this?

“Would you like to help me celebrate my fifth rebirthday?

Let me explain. It was on palindromic 29.2.92 (that’s the 29th of February 1992, for those of you calendarly challenged), it was on that leap-year day …

that my heart ♥

very nearly stopped ♥

me dead

in my tracks

… but – happily – it decided: ‘Not Yet.’ ♥

I was nursed back to health by a loving sister and cardiologists and dieticians and friends. I’m very glad that happened, because I’ve been able to do a whole whack of work in these 20 years that I wouldn’t have done otherwise! For instance, there wouldn’t have been any of the post-1992 Robin books! And there wouldn’t have been any Robin involvement in any of the following: No Triangle Project! No GABYS (Gay and Bisexual Youngmen’s Support-group)! No Gay & Lesbian Helpline! No Young Gay Guys column in Exit! No editing of English Alive! No Siyagruva Series! No IBBY SA! No Cape 300 Foundation! No Arts & Culture Trust! No Junkets Publisher! No Playscript Series! No Collected Series! …

So each leap year I sort-of celebrate my rebirthday. And 29 February 2012 will be my fifth rebirthday, 20 years after the heart attack.

I’m not having a party – that could be tempting fate!

Instead, you can help me celebrate this way:

§         Take a book – any book of any sort – that you’ve read and leave it in some public place for someone to pick up and read.

§         Before you do that, write this inside the book:

Pick me up

and read me.

Then drop me

for someone else

to pick me up

and read me.

If you feel like doing that, that would be good!”

I want to take Robin’s appeal wider. Such a simple one.  So I want to declare the 29th  #pickmeupandreadme day.  Won’t you do just as Robin says, and then send me a tweet with #pickmeupandreadme or write a comment about where you’ve dropped your book – you could send a photo, or a title, or make it cryptic. Let’s give books legs this Leap Day, the same way Robin was given legs 20 years ago.


2 Responses to “#pickmeupandreadme”

  1. Miriam February 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Why not use an existing method to track the results – http://www.bookcrossing.com is doing exactly this. It combines all feedback on one web page per book. (I’ve been a user of this non-commercial initiative for years)

    • karenjeynes February 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks Mir, I’ll have a look to see how that can work for us!

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