Leitmotif of a Commonplace Book

A commonplace book is a collection of loosely organized snippets of stuff. It’s a way of thinking that I first encountered by way of detour (my favorite hobby) at the Cincinnati Library — a book caught my eye and subsumed my identity — A Certain World by W.H. Auden. ’twas many a decade ago (4) in what now seems a distant galaxy.

Galaxy (not the magazine) reminds me now of that breathtaking work by Douglas Adams — by golly, esme recently alluded to HHGTTG. Please consult esme for more, much and many. You’ll enjoy the visit. You will, yes you will. Say, I also offer a thread from H2G2 too.

commonplace-book-cartoon-newyorker  

I like to use the word eponymous whenever possible. By gosh, this entire writing adventure is eponymously named billziegler1947. Tell your friends about this ever so clever self-referential weblog, or not.

But WTF is a leitmotif? Doesn’t sound light to us. Har Har.

A leitmotif is a recurring theme in a musical or literary work.  

leit-motif

All so very well Bill, but isn’t it time for an unnecessary ‘detour’, one you cloyingly call a hobby?

A blog is a jarringly clumsy word created in the internet wild-west world: a two character left-string truncation of ‘weblog’ — it removes the ‘we’, or is it the’us’?

Captain’s weblog 2016.366. We is back. Welcome. Just us chicken defenders.

And so, this has all been a rather detour-ridden post. However, it’s a holiday of sorts — the null point , nodding here to Hariod, between 2016 and 2017. Or are we to be taken, in far less than an instant, to arrive in 1957. There to encounter a Back to the Future replay of the fell sort, Biff and all perhaps.

biff-wins-again

Holy heavens, you have completely abandoned every modicum that informs an insistent adherence to proper writing-style. Will you ever stay on task?

No.

Veganism is the best ‘ism’ ever. If you don’t believe that then you haven’t visited Crows Head Soup by Peter Schreiner, have you? Right. Go there now.

As you gather about that soup cauldron, allow me to pass the microphone to a most impassioned advocate, one who brings voice to each and every animal crushed to the marrow for the sake of appetites unending and insatiable — outsidersinsides. Expect no bon appetit if meat be on the table. Thank you! And to all gatherers — grab that mike. My ear enjoys your insights. Always.

Let’s say that you recognize the longest occupation in modern history, one that continues into 2017 and you are also interested in animal rights. Right. Palestinian Animal League.

Let us remind you, Bill, that you are no Laurence Sterne and we fervently pray that you not dash off first lines from Tristram Shandy to cover your untidiness. We merely ask.

First lines

shandy-black-page

Copy. (and paste). But I do recall that page of solid black ink from high school, don’t I?

Yes, I do.

cover-page-tristram

And so, with gratitude for every and each reader, and with appreciation for everyone I follow, a hearty fist in the air on behalf of all the exploited sentient beings who are our fellow travellers.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

The Jailer Mentality and Alternate Histories

One of the oldest entries in my “Commonplace Book” is from an article titled simply “Science Fiction” in the small but wonderful book Of Other Worlds by C.S. Lewis. I still own that book, but have decided to quote a passage via internet; I originally typed it on an Underwood manual typewriter in 1974 (it’s one reason for my deformed fingers).

people are so ready with the charge of ‘escape.’ I never fully understood it till my friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, ‘What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?’ and gave the obvious answer: jailers. The charge of Fascism is, to be sure, mere mud-flinging. Fascists, as well as Communists, are jailers; both would assure us that the proper study of prisoners is prison. But there is perhaps this truth behind it: that those who brood much on the remote past or future, or stare long at the night sky, are less likely than others to be ardent or orthodox partisans.

A Pilgrim in Narnia reflects my own lifelong role as pilgrim and longer for other worlds. It feels like that “visit to the deck” when I go there. Science Fiction brought me instantaneous wonder one summer in Northern Michigan: 1963. In the checkout aisle next to the Snickers was this:

case.of.identity
Looking at the calendar to discover that it is the present year. Modern telephone on the wall.

It turned out to fit right in with Davide Mana’s Karavansa. Certainly recommended for those who have read this far.

Alternate histories locked in as a theme the moment I saw the calendar on that seemingly medieval wall. May 1964.

H. Beam Piper’s Gunpowder God provided precise detail on combining sulphur, charcoal and sodium nitrate. I was already combining every household chemical available to discover what the periodic table let me know about free ions, so I was among kindred.

gunpowder_god-schoenherr
Looking at the calendar to discover that it is the present year. Modern telephone on the wall.

Within the next month I had found a brown-paper wrapped Analog and the first printing in magazine form of Frank Herbert’s Prophet of Dune series.

It was in this mailbox on 315 Glenroy for firsthand accounts from the 50’s and 60’s. I still have the large-format magazines in mylar sleeves. They’re over there in the dining room. Make yourself comfortable.

Language, geography, literature and wonder.

And a recognition that our record-breaking incarceration economy and military armament madness destroys far more souls far more innocent than me.

An alternate history that does not press world armament manufacture and mega prison complexes loom in my mind 53 years hence.