SOME EDITORIAL NOTES
A few weeks ago I spent longer than I should browsing through The lady's magazine : or entertaining companion for the fair sex, appropriated solely to their use and amusement. A publication that started in the late 1700s, it was an amalgam of -- or early precursor to -- society pages, literary magazines, joke books, local newspapers, educational supplements, and sewing pattern distributors.
It was, for lack of a better description, a fairly good imitation of what the inside of my head looks like normally.
At any rate: I don't know what this is going to turn into, but I like the idea of a source of entertainment and interesting things that is not immediately tied to either the political landscape or the current medical disaster, nor particularly wedded to a consistent style of content. Expect, at the very least, commonplaces and various musings. We'll see what happens as we progress.
At some point in the future, when the world is less like it is, I intend to go back and visit The Book Barn in Niantic, Connecticut.
The Book Barn is actually comprised of about three separate locations across Niantic, each of them focusing on different genre clusters. The first location is, as the name would suggest, focused in a large barn, with several wooden outbuildings that surround it. Every building has collections of used books, again sorted mostly by genre -- when I was last there, the central barn had (among other things) YA and psychology on the second floor, modern history and politics on the first, children's on the porch, erotica in the back, and world history in the basement. One of the outbuildings, a long low one, had poetry on the porch, and biography and fiction in the building itself. Another building contained the gardening and natural sciences. The small building with the horror and mystery was squirreled away behind, for some reason, the on-site playground, and there was what appeared to be a carport that'd been converted to hold random $1 paperbacks.
Beyond even the books, though, there were unruly gardens, Halloween graveyards, a turtle that lived in a small water feature, multiple benches, multiple cats, the smell of old paper, the feel of damp wood, hand-painted wooden kiosks filled with yet more subgenres, several goats, and, on occasion and inextricably paired, a kitten and snake rescue.
I am deeply fond of The Book Barn.
It is a place intended for sunny days and running children, quiet searching and humming bumblebees. The central location can take hours, but travel beyond the barn and its little satellites, and you'll find the downtown shop, which had (when last I saw it) science fiction, fantasy, yet more children's books, graphic novels, religion, and a host of alchemical/supernatural/conspiracy type works, as any good used bookstore should. Leave the shop and take a right, and you can find a very serviceable movie theatre; take a left, and find a fairly decent Thai restaurant. Head back in the direction of the Barn, and find a sweets and ice cream shop, which, while somewhat twee, will certain hit the spot. And directly opposite the front door, across the street and over some no doubt important government blockades, is the beach. To visit the downtown location is to have the Atlantic ocean dip in and out of view as you walk, and the sea air to surprise you at odd moments.
I have spent less time than I'd like in the third location, where the romances and, yes, yet more children's and YA books live, but that is something I hope to correct in the future, when we have the chance to exist in the world again.
A VERY PLEASANT HOROSCOPE
It's easy to come up with really grim -- or, at least, extremely odd -- horoscopes for people. Deadpan horror humor is a popular style, and it's fun to write. One of my favorite horoscope stylists at the moment is the author of Normal Horoscopes, who does a combination of odd astrology, tarot readings, and give-no-fucks advice to their readers. And for me, before Normal Horoscopes, there was Amit Brar's Shitty Horoscopes, which combined brief and direful fortunes with beautiful line art.
As much fun as it would be to create my own weird horoscopes, I'm held back by (1) not actually wanting to write anything particularly dark, and (2) concern that my efforts would read as a poor knock-off of the style.
So instead, how about this:
You. Yes, you. Are worthy.
Please drink some water.
The Royal Collection Trust over in England is doing a massive cataloging and digitizing of its Georgian papers collections (i.e., the papers associated with the Georgian families, from George I through George IV), called the Georgian Papers Programme. It's challenging to dig through it, and moreso to actually read everyone's handwriting, but occasionally you find interesting tidbits. For instance, this:
...is how Queen Charlotte, wife of George III (the mad king) wrote the word "take".
All of her "k"s look like that, across her writing. It's both lovely and deeply annoying.
FURTHER EDITORIAL NOTE
As I was looking for header art for this magazine, I came across the following from Clipart Pal, which I leave here sans comment:
From a translation I can no longer find of "The Three Citrons", from Giambattista Basile's Pentamerone:
"And let us congratulate them, and may they have health, whilst I have come on foot, treading softly, with a spoonful of honey in my mouth."
From Hans Christian von Baeyer's Taming the Atom:
"The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe that he was thinking of keeping a diary: 'I don't intend to publish. I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God.' 'Don't you think God knows the facts?' Bethe asked. 'Yes,' said Szilard. 'He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts."
I have eaten too many chocolates during the writing of this introductory issue. As such, there will be no announcements, but a very sad author contemplating an evening of no chocolates at all.
-Until next week, be safe.