Having just come back from a UK book tour, I can sort of relax till the next one in February. OK, it’s not really relaxing. After all, I continue answering a growing number of emails dealing with all aspects of nothing; and since I am not yet in the position to not answer (or of hiring an assistant to answer as if it were me [or should that be "if it were I"?]), it is little old I (!) who continues to do so.
Apart from the emails, there are an inordinate number of activities that go under the rubicon of “marketing”. In theory, that’s the publisher’s job, but unless one is famous and already sells zillions of books, ordinary mortals have to do most of the work themselves. I suppose it’s something like the rich and the famous who get free tickets to shows, sports events and the like (not to mention tables at good restaurants) while those who don’t have the money and the clout – and hence the ones who need these perks – don’t.
So where was I? Oh, yes: when and why…
The most difficult question I am asked in my appearances, as well as in emails, is when and why I started researching nothing. It’s the only question – so far – I can’t answer.
I can answer “why” on its own, since that starts me off about my philosophical interest of what isn’t, plus the fascination that nothing seems to have in so many aspects of life: history, the arts, science, religion, etc. I do love to explain how looking at things can often be made clearer by looking at them through no-things.
But when and why I first noted nothing… I have no idea. I try casting my mind back in a sort of deductive backward spate of thought, but I never get to that moment: the moment where it all began – my personal Big Bang, as it were.
In the light of what I think of Nothing (as opposed to nothingness), I suppose it makes eminent sense that I can’t reach the beginning of this particular thought process. Since something can’t come from nothing, and nothing can’t come from nothing (sorry, Will Shakespeare), I now have to ponder where my “nothing” came from. Why? For that I need to lie on someone’s leather couch.