Temporal Transports of a Different Sort

If there were not language there would only be music.

And, just as certain creatures are the last surviving testimony to a form of life which nature has discarded, I asked myself if music were not the unique example of what might have been — if there had not come the invention of language, the formation of words, the analysis of ideas — the means of communication between one spirit and another.
Marcel Proust, The Captive in the translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff.

Reminded of Steven Mithen, The Singing Neanderthals: the Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body (Harvard University Press, 2006)?

And so for day 1967
02.05.2012

Spreading the Sensuality

This opening brings to mind the need for expanded food security and food literacy so that more can enjoy the pleasures rehearsed here.

For countless Americans living on their own, cooking for one is a fact of daily living. Far from dreading it, many people find it to be a satisfying, fun, rewarding activity — not just a chore. It's a way to get back in touch with a familiar rhythm of daily living. The pleasure of seeking out the best ingredients, preparing them to their own preferences, experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, and the sensory pleasures of cooking — the feel of chopping something, the sound of foods sizzling in a wok, the aroma of a simmering soup — are as important to their sense of well-being as daily exercise is.
Mark Erickson and Lisa Erickson Cooking for One.

And so for day 1966
01.05.2012

Auto Error Correct or Auto Correct Error

From a legal newsletter

Fun with Spelling

Clients and/or opposing parties may be puzzled or insulted if you accidentally recommend 'medication' or 'meditation' rather than 'mediation', even though the former two may be more appropriate to the case. It has happened!!
Configurations calling for a team with a wide scope of practice.

And so for day 1965
30.04.2012

Fiddlehead Farrago

Other titles in the series are Touch Will Tell and Walk With Your Eyes. The one that interests me is Listen to a Shape. It seems to harken more to the synesthetic experience. All are with words and images by Marcia Brown.

Listen to a Shape positions its opening under the sign of a curled fern frond or fiddlehead. It promises to bring to fruition the metaphorical import of roundness.

ROUND curls up
       on itself.
Round things
       bring you back
       to where they
       started.
And faithfully the book ends with an illustration of unfurled fronds.

Round objects also fly you around the world in this age of searchable clip art.

There's a restaurant in Nanaimo. It's called the Fiddlehead Bistro and I have here borrowed its logo with a horizontal flip.

Almost like a Japanese crest. Trace of an artist who has truly listened to shape.

And so for day 1964
29.04.2012

Boys Will Be Girls Will Be Boys

In retrospect there is a hint of gender politics in Eric Partridge's entry on "boys will be boys"in his 1964 compilation A Book of Essential Quotations. He adds to the quotation from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Anthony Hope's gloss:

"Boys will be boys." "And even that," I interposed, "wouldn't matter if only we could prevent girls from being girls."
The source of that quip is The Dolly Dialogues [1894].

And so for day 1963
28.04.2012

Purrfect Pun

In the age of cat videos, one comes across an apt little bit of verse from John S. Crosbie in Crosbie's Book of Punned Haiku. (New York: Workman Publishing, 1979).

There is nothing worse
Than poems about cute cats
It is all perverse.
If you think this is bad, I've seen worse — from Crosby himself — a haiku that ends limerick-like with "caramel knowledge."

And so for day 1962
27.04.2012

Setting Up the Punchline

"Playing against Type" by Doug Gibson - review of Gutenberg's Fingerprint: Paper, Pixels and the Lasting Impression of Books by Merilyn Simonds

The final section of the book allows Merilyn Simonds, the early adopter, to predict where books are going. She notes that readers are now "encouraged to explore and engage with the text. The reader's role is no longer passive, it is active, even though he or she can't actually affect the outcome."
The latest catchphrase-which may well be obsolete before this book is printed-is "augmented reality," or AR: virtual images laid over real ones to create an "augmented" display. AR integrates graphics, sounds, touch (haptics), and smell into a real-world environment, blurring the line between the actual and the computer-generated.
"Smell." Really? Hold that unlikely thought.

The key phrase here, I think, is "which may well be obsolete before this book is printed." Certainly, anyone reading this book to learn about the future of reading will find that while Merilyn Simonds's book raises many questions, it is too sensible to produce many confident predictions. Although it is notable that she has put a lot of time and effort in turning her out-of-print paper books into digital e-books.

A final detail, one that Bob Gottlieb [American editor and publisher] would like: the endpapers for the precious little book are specially created, with the help of the artist Emily Cook, from paper whose fibre comes from daylilies picked from Merilyn Simonds's garden. In discussing this process, Merilyn the Essayist tells us that way back, about 1780, Matthias Koops in London decided that for printing books, paper made from straw would be ideal. Nicholas Basbanes, in his 2013 book, On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History (published by Gottlieb's old company, Knopf) writes about handling a book based on straw. After more than 200 years, the paper still held "the agreeable aroma-of fresh-cut grass."
Worth holding the thought to catch that whiff.

And so for day 1961
26.04.2012

Triggers, Paratexts and Interpretations

Lynne Pearce in Woman Image Text: Readings in Pre-Raphaelite Art and Literature suggests that the figure depicted in John Everett Millais's Mariana is caught in a distinctive moment: "Mariana is presenting her body for inspection, while she gazes desirously into the eyes of the Archangel Gabriel represented in the stained glass." Curious to observe if the gaze is returned, one turns to plate three to inspect the reproduction. Inclusive. Indeed it is difficult to confirm that the figure of Mariana is indeed looking at the angel. However, one notices that plate three (Mariana) is situated on the right page and plate two (Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti) on the left page of the open book and that the figures of Mariana and Beatrix by their positions as reproduced in the book might be seen to converge on the stained glass angel. He may be looking at her but is she looking at him? Reproductions in Pearce's sources are marshalled to make the claim. The article "Subliminal Dreams" by George MacBeth in Narrative Art edited by John Ashbury and Thomas B. Hess provides a black and white detail of the upper left quadrant followed by a colour reproduction. The layout induces a subtle repetition: left page the b&w detail, right page the first page of the article, [turn the page] left page the colour reproduction of the full painting. The manner of the disposition of the illustrations supports the critical story that is being offered. Interestingly Pearce in introducing a quotation from an Andrew Leng article that quotes Macbeth's article fails to mention that Leng remarks upon the tone of Macbeth's "post-Freudian enthusiasm" in whose prose "[t]he erotic implications of the painting which Ruskin ignored are made abundantly if facetiously clear [...]". Leng's article is now available on the Victorian Web. In "Millais's "Mariana": Literary Painting, the Pre-Raphelite Gothic, and the Iconology of the Marian Artist", Leng draws upon how knowledge of Tennyson's poem affects the reading of the painting. In the online verision of the article there is to be found a thumbnail reproduction of the painting that is hot linked to a larger image.

Paratexts push if not produce the interpretations of the painting: that gaze is certainly askance.

And so for day 1960
25.04.2012

Cartes Postales

A plug for Adam Bunch's Toronto Dreams Project

Postcards left about public spaces. Postcards that connect to historical anecdotes and figures. Postcard drop off spots are documented in a blog and via Instagram.

No 41 - one of my favourites

Emma Goldman was the world's most notorious anarchist in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Exiled from her home in the United States, she would eventually spend some of her final years living in Toronto, giving speeches, organizing meetings and raising money for the causes in which she believed (including pacifism, labour rights and birth control. She died while staying at a friend's home on Vaughan Road.
http://torontodreamsproject.com/1pages/41-Goldman.html

Postcards have been left at the place she died and places where she spoke.

And so for day 1959
24.04.2012

They Are Other

Marilyn Dumont
The Pemmican Eaters

The anaphora would be oppressive if these last three lines were not broken off into a separate stanza.

these are not the lines between English and French
these are not the lines between oral and written history
these are not the lines of the rope that hung Louis
The poem is cunningly entitled "Lines" for what we have here are lines of flight. Two lines referencing bisections followed by a line that coils.

And so for day 1958
23.04.2012