Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unmentionables ...

I’m not very productive today. I hurt too much to concentrate; so I’m still fussing with the disorder on my desk and work table. I can see most of my desk top, and a corner of my work table. Hopefully by the end of the day I’ll have this mass of paper tamed and usable.

My writing partner received an interesting email. One of his friends sent him the personal email of the head of a rather large archive. They’re traditionally reluctant to share things. Hopefully this rear-entrance contact will circumvent some of that. We both find some of these institutional libraries frustrating. Their policies seem to prevent research rather than to foster it.

When I’m not well, my brain fogs up. The score this week: Three books mislaid. One found, two still missing. There here somewhere, probably right in front of me on a book shelf. I just can’t see them. I panic when that happens, though I know that the books are right here – somewhere.

Some months ago I found five volumes of The Universal Anthology. This was a thirty-three volume set published back in 1899. It came in two bindings, cloth and half-leather. The volumes I found were the red half-leather. This was a collection of the “best” literature, “ancient, medieval and modern.” Sets like these were bought by people who wanted to appear literate, but who seldom read the books.

The partial set I found belonged to Thomas M. West. There are too many with the same name to tell exactly who he was, but I can tell you what he wasn’t. He wasn’t a reader of these books. Oh, they’re worn, the leather is scuffed, has minor tears, but he never read them. The pages were never separated. I read most of volume one during my down time at work. (Between 2 am and about 5 am there is almost nothing to do.) I kept my handy dandy pocket knife open and slit open the un-separated pages as I read. It saddens me that these books sat somewhere for 100 years and no one bothered to read them.

The editor’s view of what was “the best” wouldn’t meet today’s tastes, but there is interesting stuff in volume one. I liked the interplay of ancient material and modern. The book is organized by topic. Assyrian myth is followed by what was then modern poetry on similar subjects. I enjoyed large parts of it. I’ll read the next volume in a week or so.

I’ve been flitting between this Blog post and attacking disorder. I type a paragraph and return to the fray! I can now see the top of my work table. Poor ratty thing! I was new sometime in the 1850’s. It’s not so new now. But I can see the top.

Remind me to buy notebook dividers. I need a bunch.
Remember in a pervious post I mentioned my two moldy books? They're both cured. It took longer than I expected; apprently the infection was quite bad. But they now smell as books should and have found their place on the appropriate bookshelf.

I can now report that everyone’s undies are suitably washed and folded. … When you blog about the wash, it’s time to close the post. Still mundane things can be interesting. See the Arthur Rackham illustration above.


  1. I'm sorry you're not feeling good. I have CFS and that comes with brain fog so I have some idea what that can be like, but hurting too much to concentrate is really horrible. I don't even know how realistic it is to say that I hope the pain passes quickly, although I do.

    I'm impressed that you can still blog and show us another gorgeous picture. Do the images come mostly from treasures you've found in thrift shops or do you also find them online?

  2. Some of the artists illustrations come from online. Many of the photos are either family photos or things I've found somewhere.

    Way back when people published family photos themselves or others published them as post cards. The photo of the little cabin was taken in 1918 by a friend of my great grandfather. He published his photos as post cards, but they were personal photos too.

    I love old illustrated children's books. Some of the pictures you see here come from them.

    I like interesting antique post cards too. I inherited a huge box of them, all with family messages on the back from my great grand aunt. I've added to the collectio since.

    Thanks for the sympathy!

  3. 6. I need to scan some cards that came into my wife's possession from her aunt. Then I can share them on my blog.