The last was for protesting the first deletion (which committed WRONGTHINK) and, therefore, was not on topic.
What a dick! (Just like I had heard he was.)
I had a rather long rant against John Scalzi, a person I find extremely distasteful. If you read it, good for you, I retract nothing you read. However, I do not want it to stand as a record of the man occupying any of my mind or life, so I did remove the post. He already has the distinction of being the only writer I refuse to read based on his personality and views. Although I pulled the post, let me be clear, I believe the man a worm, a PC, Leftist ThoughtPolice, Moloch-worshipping, death-cult, worm.
I do not inquire into the views or personalities of writers or musicians or actors (nor their political opinions or whether they like split pea soup or the fragrance of their farts) however, I did discover his without ever reading him.
And based on that, I never shall. But fear not writers, that was a special circumstance. For the time being my policy is to steer clear of the person behind the performance. That, however, is subject to review given the current climate and absolute unwinding of the Left and their attempted takeover of all.
As usual I am reviewing the introduction and, maybe, later reviewing some of the stories, or the book as a whole.
But probably not. I never do seem to get back to it.
And I usually see no reason to when I get into the book. It is a collection of Lafferty stories, nearly all I will enjoy immensely, and a few I will understand.
So far the only failing of this series (for me anyway) is in the choices for who writes the introduction. So far it is following the opposite of the Star Trek movie rule. The first and third introductions were good, the second and fourth were told by two men who mostly talked of themselves.
However Harlan Ellison had the advantage of having some relation to the man. And took a paragraph or two to relate something about Lafferty from his experience and not himself.
Richard A Lupoff spends most of his introduction talking incoherently about Lafferty being a practitioner of Orwell’s doublethink. And questioning how someone as smart and educated as Lafferty could believe in something as profoundly stupid as Catholicism. It should be noted that Lupoff has no real knowledge of Catholicism.
At the beginning of the introduction Lupoff confesses he only had a passing acquaintance with Lafferty – handshakes and a ‘how do you do?’ at conventions. At the end he goes into this bucket list fantasy about his friend Lafferty and Jack Vance.
I rarely, if ever, read introductions. No one buys a book for the introductions. But I read the Lafferty introductions because Lafferty is my favorite writer and I would like to read of the man. I hope, in future volumes of this series, they will get some writers (or editors or publishers) who had some interaction with the man – something real to relate.
And, perhaps, one who did not wonder how “someone so smart could believe in something so stupid.”
I was listing (eh hem, bragging) to someone today of my numerous resources. And I had forgotten this little gem sitting on one of my bookshelves.
It is a beautifully illustrated book covering many mystical and visceral creatures of meadows, forest sand dark corners. It is divided into two sections: part one is elves and part two is goblins and other little creatures.
Many a creature one will meet in these pages, some familiar, some obscure. Most of us have heard of Puck, the Drac, sylphs or the will-o’-the-wisps. But there be others not so known, the Asrai, Patupaiarehe
You get dwarves, goblins, elves, sprites, creatures of the ponds and lakes and the rivers, of the meadows and the garden, the sea and the coast, of the mountains, heaths and hills, and of the shadows and many others besides. And they are from all over the globe and from every culture.
Funny thing to observe. It is observed that religion is ubiquitous to man in all times and all places. And so are these class of creatures. A modernist would shrug off such an observation as man is an idiot in all times and all places. And while I do not discredit wholly that assertion, I do not agree that religion and faerie are the result of idiocy.
I am quite willing to go on record and claim the exact opposite. I am even prepared to go on record and say both are to the glory of man.
But this wasn’t to be about a single book. I wish there was an equivalent book on monsters.
I had laid out (the bragging I had referenced at the beginning) to this person my general reference material: Sisson’s Synonyms (that’s a new acquisition though) complete OED, Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern Usage, and some picture dictionaries that I find indispensable.
But I then dove into my digital reference material which is mainly religious (Catholic really) in nature. It is pretty impressive. And I am leaving out my complete collection of Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers collections, my complete Summa Theologica and other related things.
Why am I writing about it though? Because it was shortly, pretty damn shortly too, after acquiring all this that I went into school and haven’t had much occasion to even glance at it until now.
I left out I don’t know how many pictorial/maps to the ancient biblical world books. Aramaic, Greek and other such dictionaries and bibles. Several books on the Council of Trent, Vat I, etc, etc.
All that and more, plus I still have in my possession the entire Durant history series.
I am going to be playing for a long time now!
What can I say? My favorite author also drank my favorite beer. Specifically Budweiser in a can. One could say that having that particular beer in that particular photo was just random and he could just as well had a Miller Lite bottle in his hand the next day, I prefer to think he liked Budweiser in a can.
Alright, enough of that, onto the series.
I am not done with it yet. Goodnite!
Kidding. But I am not done with it yet. I am several pages into Tales of Midnight which is the second of the books that make up the third volume of the Argo series, More than Melchisedech.
When I was about two-thirds the way through Tales of Chicago, the first of the volumes that make up More than Melchisedech, when I was really worrying. Is this just all just going nowhere? Except for some character overlap, there wasn’t (at least to my eyes yet) much holding through between the volumes. It seemed to have a cast of characters that would appear here and there but I couldn’t see any particular reason why these people would be held together any more than chance meeting in real life would hold such people together (looking at things just on a eye level sequential sequence viewpoint).
The first book, Archipelago, was just that, the cast were treated, largely, as an archipelago of people. Each one occupied it’s own (to a large extent) vignette/archipelago. The second, The Devil is Dead, centered mostly on a single character, Finnegan, i.e., John Solli, but no relation to most of what went on before was discernible. Then Tales of Chicago shifted the main character again to one Melchisedech Duffey and we hear no more about Finnegan, i.e., John Solli until-
And then SPOILERS!!!!!! the relation of Duffey to the others is revealed (although I think I was daft not to get it quite earlier in Tales of Chicago (perhaps even earlier? a question I will ask myself when I read it again) but one doesn’t often read this level of meta-fiction)). And even the title of the first book, Archipelago makes self-referential sense.
I really felt lost at sea (even that is self-referential to the series and one wonders if Lafferty designed that for his reader to experience as well!) before the reveal. And when I say reveal, I do not mean it as sort of must see tv – character secret revealed on Entertainment Tonight! I mean it as more of a gradual unveiling.
Right now they are gathered all in St. Louis but Duffey has not found Finnegan. It is a beautifully written scene (all of it is really) and I know its significance won’t dawn on me until it is a memory.
If it was any other author, I would not have made it this far. But I often stumble through Lafferty’s worlds (which is really just one) deaf to half that is going on around me the first time around. The prose itself can suffice until the other part of me (the slower part) catches up! Loving it!
One of my long time customers at my bar suggested this book to me a few weeks ago (I hate waiting for regular delivery!). Looking it over it seems the byline for the book is the real indicator for it and reads as follows (you can see above the author’s name): An Unabridged Synonym and Related Term Locator.
The related term locator is the real useful part; general entries start with common synonyms of the common usage of the entry term, but switch to other related uses as you go through the entry. It is not a general use synonym finder or thesaurus (especially since it was published in 1969 and we have only gone downhill since roughly that time), you have to have a decent command of English usage to navigate through a lot of entries. Thesauruses, usually the online types, give a lot of their synonyms through use in expressions – Sisson’s only gives related words.
For instance, if you are investigating alternative ways to express the concept of ‘focus’, you may come across the concept ‘cynosure’. Is cynosure another way to say ‘focus’? Or is it a related word? There is nothing wrong not knowing (there is in not being curious enough to look it up) so look up the term! There are probably hundreds if not thousands of words here I don’t know.
Some words just die out. I am of the opinion that if there is a thing as endangered species, the first on our list should be the richness of our language. Example: one of the entries under Fog is Brumous. I’ve never come across the word before. Maybe if I didn’t read so much lightweight space operas my vocabulary would be larger!
But we are all required to save the Space Princess!
Anyway, it now proudly takes a spot with my linguistic collection: Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern Usage, Dorland’s Medical dictionary, Foyle’s Philavery, two picture dictionaries (sometimes you need a visual cue – what the hell is that knobby thing at the top and bottom of a stair rail called? or if you need the names of the parts of a sail ship), C.S. Lewis’ A Study in Words, and (because I still love the thing) The Chicago Manual of Style.
Setting it Right
I have decided, although it causes me some trepidation, to disengage myself from this pursuit of medical coding. Even if I did land the job, I don’t know what else I would have time for – especially writing.
And even though I said I was getting back to the writing (or else abandon, out of honesty, the subtitle of my blog) I would not be able to do it with the medical coding. It was a bigger line of work than I had anticipated. So I am going to ditch it –
It drives me a little insane… scared even that I wasted more than two whole years on something like that only to walk away. I’ve never felt like that over the decades of (two of them anyway) drinking and getting ZERO done. I achieved a certification and blew through roughly five thousand dollars, but I am can’t think of myself also sacrificing even more time (because getting into this line of work is a nightmare) and perhaps never getting back to writing.
I’m sorry, I’d rather be a fry cook at McDonald’s (or a greeter at Walmart). Don’t laugh, those bastards will be making $15 an hour in Seattle soon. YOU BETTER NOT FUCK UP MY BURGER IN THE DRIVE-THRU!!!!!! OTOH, I don’t know where they are going to live because rent is going to do nothing but go up, up, up!
“Yeah, I’m a fry cook at McDonald’s. I’m make $15 an hour. I commute 2 hours into work and back home every day. The liberals that run the city may say they love the little man and minorities, but only if they are of a certain class. You can feed us and clean up our poop, but you can’t live with us!”
No matter. I’ll be moving to North Carolina next year anyway.
Sad Face 2015
In January of 2015 I wrote my last piece of writing before school. It was a vignette of a much larger idea being tossed around. Basically it was an end of time/universe story but based on a cyclical universe cosmology. No one knows they live in a cyclical universe while the world is ending.
I later introduced the idea of the last remnants of mankind being mercilessly hunted down by hordes of supernatural clowns while the heavens are descending in apocalypse. Then I came up with idea of humans not knowing they live in a cyclical universe, but the clowns do. And basically the last man standing at the very end of the old universe and the beginning of the new one is the winner.
The whole project started to get away from me a little then so I decided to take the various ideas and do shorter pieces of them. I call it slap-dash writing. It goes a little like this: “Alright I have this idea for these evil clowns at the end of time – what are their motives, who are they? Go!”
This resulted in the piece below. Some have seen it before, but I repost it because it is my re-entry point and – just how much acid and glue-sniffing did I do growing up? No, soberly, anyone know?
While I work on slapping this piece into cohesion, I am wondering how I would execute my other vignette idea for the clowns. I had this wicked little alt-ending for the story called “Clown and Eve” where the clowns win. And the world is remade. There is a beautiful woman, alone in a garden of paradise. She is picking a fruit from a tree and –
over her shoulder rises a clown holding a knife high over his head (cue Psycho track ee! ee! ee!). Thought our current iteration started in tragedy? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Anyway, I post the first draft of this again below. I’m going to work on it starting tomorrow.
Sad Face stood in the middle of the small room surrounded by his peers. The pasty white of his face was smeared with red and his frown was twice turned down. Sad Face stroked a large orange cat that he held to his protruding stomach. His inquisitors made a circle around him at tables too low and chairs too small. It was a classroom, a colorful classroom of rainbows and alphabets and numbers and construction paper cut-outs of various smiling animals.
Grimrole the Peeker, Curly the Cue, Puss in Boots, Laughing Lady, and Ralph formed the opposition to Sad Face on his right. They too were of pasty reflection and sour prism. But theirs was an arrow, an angry bow, and their frowns were for Sad Face.
Rascal, Galoshes, Hubris, and Candor the Gondor, formed Sad Face’s opposition to the left. They too were of pasty reflection and sour prism, but also of envious spectrum and malice aforethought. They were the strongest of any of the multitudinous factions that made up the group of 9. At last count there were no less than 36 factions among the group of nine, each in a war with the other. And many more factions with you let a faction consist of a single member.
The cat that sat aplomb on Sad Face’s belly was Nelly. She had lives for the each of them.
And she may need them this night.
“What have you to say for yourself, Face?” sneered Puss in Boots.
“Nothing,” said Sad Face. He petted Nelly absentmindedly and Nelly let him absentmindedly.
Hubris stood up and pointed a preposterously white and large finger in Face’s direction, “This clown is too old to be one of us! Look at the silly things he plays at! I say we dispose of him!”
There was a swell of snarling, conjecture, objection, bellowing and posing from both sides of the table. Sad Face stared at the floor. It was hard to tell if there was fear in the pancake or whether there was syrup to hit the floor. He just stood there stroking Nelly’s fur. And while Nelly may have enjoyed that absentmindedly, she did not enjoy the sudden gash of scarlet cacophony that splintered across the room and she raised her cackles and hissed at the rioters.
“Quiet!” roared Candor the Gondor. He rose as he said this and the bellow of his voice masked the breaking of both chair and table and the spilling onto the floor of his allies, Galoshes and Hubris. These two, their feet being of absurd size, struggled to get up; and their giant heads of frizzy, discolored hair bobbed up and down in their fight.
“Do we forget?” said Curly the Cue as he twirled one length of his long, green mustache, “Do we forget who Sad Face is?”
“What does that matter?” hissed Grimole the Peeker peering coyly from behind his woman’s scepter, a cream colored fan, and batted his exquisite lashes at Puss in Boots who turned away in mortal disgust (as did anyone). Peeker giggled. “We eat our young. Why not throw away the old?”
“Or eat them too!” Cried Laughing Lady and she broke into mad shrieks of laughter causing the others to cover their ears in anguish.
Ralph sprang up atop his desk and sang basso, “And just who is this Sad Face we speak of?” It was a serious question because Ralph could not remember anything that was not sung from day to day.
Ignoring Ralph except to answer his question, spoke Hubris. “He is the first of us. The first to put out a light because it lit. To dirty a puddle because it was clear.”
“But I, I was the first to stick a knife in a baby’s eye because it enjoyed its sight!” This was Rascal whose full name was Rascal Animus.
“That is all well and fine, Rascal. And surely we would not have come as far as we have unless you had brought us to such ghastly refinement. But Hubris is saying you did it because of Sad Face. He was our father.”
“Bah!” Lashed out Rascal and pulled a long knife out of his drooping drawers and plunged it into Sad Face’s belly – and through Nelly in the process.
“My Nelly!” cried Puss in Boots.
Sad Face looked up at Rascal through shaggy red eye brows, “That was uncalled for, don’t you think?” Nelly’s body sagged against the long shaft of the blade. Sad Face grabbed the handle of the knife, pulled it out of himself and tossed it ringing onto the floor. Nelly fell to the floor and Puss in Boots rushed to her side sobbing.
“Are you not going to die?” asked Rascal.
“No, I think not. I haven’t dirtied my last puddle, nor shed my last mocked tear.”
“I’ll hold a seance, a rite, a ritual, or find some patch of earth for you to spring from, my sweet.” Puss carried her off to her seat, sat down, stroked her bloodied fur and glared at Rascal with enough venom to make a coven run for cover.
“It is so odd she cares for something. Goes against our most basic objectives, does it not?” asked Rascal abstractly to no one in particular.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the fourth volume of R.A. Lafferty’s short fiction is now available for purchase! I may, actually, be a few days behind on this one. I already own one of the best stories of this bunch (in fact, I think I already own 99% of Lafferty’s published short work) Ishmael Into the Barrens. Great story.
The Contents are here:
These usually go quick!
I am on the Beatitudes in my online catechism class now. I am not sure how long I should spend on such a thing. I could spend a day and answer the questions at the end correctly. I could probably answer the questions correctly without needing to read (or reread as I have read the beatitudes and some commentary on them before) the material. But these are things that men have studied and wrote about and applied to life’s various realities for centuries. When is it enough?
Of course just because you cover a subject once does not mean you cannot cover it again. I didn’t really mind finishing up Christ’s baptism in a day or so. A few points are covered in that event, but it is not essential. The beatitudes are quite important and I am not sure what I gain by a day’s study although it has already been more than that.
I’m on Tales of Chicago of Lafferty’s Argo tale SPOILERS!!! – But not too badly now. I know the general theme, or at least one of them, of the whole tale as it was in the first book. But as far as narrative flow goes, this is a tough Lafferty read. Meaning I am not sure if all the events are going to be linked and sewn together in the end. We get a little taste of each of the characters and their lives after WWII and the second book follows the other life of a John Solli – Finnigan. He is the focus at the end of the first two books, but those endings are open-ended, they are not concluded, but pick up at a different point of a different life.
The third book, Tales of Chicago, that I am now on, so far hasn’t visited Finnigan at all, and I am not even sure if we will see him again. We have to see him again don’t we?
SPOILER!!! For those that may be reading and have travelled this tale (that would be very small window of people) I believe at least one of the themes is expressed by Mr. X to Abselom Stein at the end of Archipelago. I could be wrong, but the statements he make seem significant enough to be thematic.
I also hope to be posting some writing here in the very near future. Huzzah!