***This book was reviewed for Reader’s Favourite
Smith’s short memoir Orb Stones and Geoglyphs: A Writer’s Journey is an exploration of one man’s drive to create, and the inspirations he found to do so. Smith admits a favouring of mathematics and hard science over writing, finding the latter confusing in its more chaotic nature. Writing and language do have order and rules, but there’s far greater fluidity and change. It certainly doesn’t help that he is dyslexic.
As a young man with a degree in physics, Smith began work as a soundman, weaving artistry with soundwaves to help create amazing concerts. He was one of the ‘men behind the curtain’. His discussing of rock and roll music seamlessly segues into a discussion of a trip he took with his wife, and stumbling upon a small town where giant, near perfect round stones were everywhere. Clusters rested in fields, and graced entryways and parking areas, where people had moved them. He would go on to search for the mysterious orb stones all through Arkansas, eventually sparking a story fragment.
As Smith’s travels and research carry him deeper into the past, he shares with us his thoughts regarding the lost past of the indigenous cultures, and insights from his research. I found the conquistador information fascinating.
I love how, for Smith, these orb stones became his guides, paving the way to find the key to the past, to meet the hermit, at the sick girl’s grave. Here, Smith echoed something that I, as a writer myself, fully believe. We are biblioanthropologists, blessed with the key, or keys, to different places. We share not places that exist only in our own heads, but out there, somewhere beyond the blurred borders of our here and now. For Smith, his key is to our past. He stepped through and found Tatianto and Manaha, who have stories to share. I know, too, the fierce feeling of needing to write in the moment. It’s an all-consuming need, to get it all down on paper before the connection fades.
As I read the beginning of Smith’s story coming together, I kept having niggling sensations of familiarity. Annoyance and curiosity finally got the better of me and I went and looked up Martin’s other books on Goodreads. ‘Lo and behold, I had read Storykeeper some years before! Good book!
Orb Stones and Geoglyphs: A Writer’s Journey is a highly engaging little read. It is one man’s journey towards learning to be a bridge and a keyholder. A chronicler. A biblioanthropologist. Highly recommended for all the baby biblioanthropologists out there, to help ease doubts and learn to trust the process.