25 July 2013 ~ Unused Quotes
I intended for over three year to begin each chapter of The Bush Baptist
with a quotation linked to the events or ideas about to unfold. I
collected quotations and sometimes hunted for them. For example, when I
realised the writers and thinkers collected were predominantly white
and male, I tried hard to expand the range; sadly with little
By the start of this year it was clear that the
book needed trimming and I ditched the chapter quotations.
However, for anyone interested the collection is availabe as a pdf. The themes of the quotes, and to a large extent the book, are:
- Doubt and Scepticism
- Fate / Luck / Chance / Providence
- New Zealand
24 July 2013 ~ Printed version of The Bush Baptist Now Available
The novel is now available from Feedaread for £9.99 plus £4.34 p&p. I expect the book to be available via Amazon by mid-August. E-book versions are available for £3.
17 July 2013 ~ Advice on Downloading E-Books
I have added advice on acessing e-books onto the Published
Fiction & How to Buy
page. There is a set on instructions on how to load a mobi file onto a
Kindle, guidelines on which format to download to which e-reading
device, and a suggestion on e-reading software for those who need it.
July 2013 ~ The Bush Baptist and
started on The Bush
Baptist in June 2007 under the working title of Camden because one
of the original scenes was the meeting in Camden High Street between
the characters who became Holbach and Kenan. I decided
seven months later that the novel would inlcude references to The Pilgrim’s Progress
because I began to see Holbach as a modern pilgrim stumbling towards
There are two mentions in Bush of
the title of Bunyan’s book and several chapter titles, characters
and places owe their names to Pilgrim’s Progress.
I have listed
some of the references below.
came to Pilgrim’s
late because my schooling was Catholic and
the book is anti-Papist. Nor did Bunyan feature in any of my
post-secondary courses. What I admire about his writing is how
innovative it was and the fact he wrote while imprisoned for his
beliefs. I no more accept the Christian message than I do the political
outlook of Shakespeare. Both sets of views appear archaic to me.
From the third edition of The Pilgrim's Progress, 1679
story-telling strikes many now as quaint. As well as being influenced by the English of the Puritan era,
he wrote to promote his view of Christianity and not to produce a work of
literature. However, Pilgrim’s Progress
provided a model that led others to pioneer the novel. And while there
ancient classics based on journeys and voyages, these emphasise
physical courage and use of cunning whereas Bunyan’s concern is moral
development and seeing through the shallowness of what many are busy
with. Even road movies, or at least the better ones, owe something to
of websites claim that Pilgrim’s Progress
is second only to the Bible as the most read or most printed
the world. However, I have found no reference for these claims. I
suspect they were once true of Christendom, or at least the Protestant
part of it, and the notion has been out of date for the best
part of a century. However, there is no doubt that the text of has been
For example, Paola Delle Valle
in her 2010 book on the rise of Maori Literature, From Silence to Voice,
notes that “Government presses featured ... direct translations of a
selection of texts that could help the understanding of European
culture..." And one of the texts chosen was The Pilgrim's Progress.
imagine the early New Zealand government’s choice owed something to the
mythical qualities of Bunyan’s story being seen as attractive to Maoris
with their own rich mythology, as well as the book promoting not just
Christianity, but the Protestant variety. By this time, the Anglican
church that had imprisoned Bunyan for religious dissent for the best
part of 12 years now held him up as a hero and wanted children to
learn from his allegory. And while the Protestant churches in colonial
New Zealand competed with each other, they were united by varying
degrees of antipathy to Rome and resentment towards the Catholic
missionaries converting Maoris. Here was a book in addition to the King James Version that
Protestants could rally around.
is no escaping that much of the historical interest in Pilgrim’s Progress
from its usefulness for religious indoctrination rather than wanting to
expose readers to the one of glories of English literature. Even today
there are those
who claim it is “a masterpiece of Christian instruction”.
greatest reservation about religion is the damage it can do to
children. As well as the physical brutality that some forms of
Christianity (and other creeds including some non-religious ones)
foster in their eagerness to stamp out an inclination to sin or think, there is the psychological
damage that follows unhealthy attitudes towards sexuality and the
inculcation of guilt, especailly when linked to a fear of eternal damnation. And while New
Zealand, like many other nations, has moved some distance from the
puritanism that came to the country in sailing boats, repressive
pockets of Kiwi Christianity continue to damage at least a proportion of
their younger members.
guess is that today Pilgrim’s
Progress has most currency where the repression by
fundamentalists is greatest. Referring to the book in my novel
is a way of saying Bunyan, like the Bible, needs reinterpretation.
People make all sorts of journeys in and around beliefs
and secular explorations can be just as moral and arduous as those that
begin with the notion that God exists.
will say that Bunyan's Christian faith, once found, was
unwavering and any tampering with his work is tantamount to sacrilege.
My response is that Bunyan was an intelligent man with an enquiring
mind. No one can say with certainty what he might have believed had he
been born after the Enlightenment or with the benefit of modern
biblical scholarship and an understanding of twentieth centrury science.
faith like his writing was to a large extent a product of its times.
Yet what exactly was his faith? Some claim he was a Baptist and others
a Congregationalist. There is also debate as to whether he accepted all
of the Five Points of Calivinism. It
appears he was ripe for conversion in the sense of being troubled and
responded to a local preacher. But had Bunyan been troubled before
Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church, the religiosity of the man from Bedford would have followed the
forms prescribed by Rome. And if Bunyan had lived in the seventeenth
century in a non-Christian culture, his zealousness would have been
shaped by whatever faith had currency.
Chapters taken from The Pilgrim's Progress
The Wilderness of this World
Leaving the City of Destruction
That Which is to Come
Even from the Gate of Heaven
Christian leaving his wife and children as he
begins his search for salvation.
Illustration known as "The man with the burden" by Rachael Robinson Elmer (1878 - 1919).
Some Bush Baptist Place
Names Taken or Derived from The
– Enchanted Ground
– Doubting Castle
– The River of Death
Lane – “Dead-Man’s lane”
Hill – “hill called Error”
Hotel – from name of innkeeper
Row – home of Talkative
– from Hill of Lucre
Street – Slough of Despond
Hotel – Darkland
Bush Baptist Character Names Taken or Derived from The Pilgrim’s
Atawhai – Mercy in
- Maori transliteration of Aaron.
– Madam Bubble
– Mr Brisk
– Mr Obstinate
Mnason –Mnason is a Cyprusian
– Mr Gripeman, a schoolmaster
– Maori for Passion
– Innocent in Maori
Truss – Mistrust
– Maori transliteration of Moses
& Ponder – from Nathaniel Ponder, publisher of the First
Edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress
– from the Italian for Honest
Nosegay – both words appear in Pilgrim’s Progress
– Italian for Piety
Pickthanks Books - Pickthank
– a physician in the Pilgrim’s Progress
/ Kiritiana – Maori form of
July 2013 ~ The
Bush Baptist Available as an E-book for £3.
I now have an ISBN for The
Bush Baptist I have prepared e-book versions in Epub, Mobi
and Pdf formats.
All three formats are available via Payhip Bush, which
accepts PayPal. Payhip will also be accepting credit cards in the next
users will need the mobi version and most other e-reader devices use
epub. If you want to read on your personal computer and don't already
have a programme for epub or mobi. I recommend the free software
Calibre for a range of operating systems.
More information on The Bush Baptist.
July 2013 ~ Mr
Vitriol Now Available as Ebook for £3.
have found a UK-based sales platform for e-books, Payhip, that offers a
similar deal to Ganxy, the company I wrote about in May.
Vitriol for £3 via Payhip Vitriol.
The ebook is
available in Epub, Mobi and PDF formats. Payhip will also be accepting
credit cards in the next few weeks.
payments via PayPal and will be accepting credit cards in the near
future. Those who want to pay with a credit card now will need to use Ganxy
and pay in US Dollars.
July 2013 ~ The
Bush Baptist is with publisher
finished correcting The
this morning and sent the text to my publisher this afternoon. I hope
to see a printed copy before the end of the month. I prepared an ebook
version this evening. This needs the ISBN and then I will issue it
shortly after the physical book goes on on sale.
started this novel in 2007 before I had completed a course that taught
the basics of fiction writing. If I had my time again, I
spend two years on short stories, as well as workshops on writing,
before starting a novel. Studying novel writing helped me a great deal,
but I still wasted a lot of time struggling with the challenge
a novel that is neither short nor simple. At the
would have been better to have attempted a novella before
The Bush Baptist.
is not a short book, but it was easier to finish and so my second novel
was published first. I have also completed the draft
much simpler novel, a novella and forty short stories. And it is
attempting these works that have helped me to bring The Bush Baptist to
a conclusion after six years and six major rewrites.
was tempted to play George Bernard Shaw's trick. His first three novels
were published in reverse order and he delighted in telling people how
critics commented on his evolving style.
More information on The Bush Baptist.