Monday, September 28, 2015
There are times when I find myself truly nonplussed at the thought of explicating yet another stanzel of this Hunting of the Snark. Some of you might think that Lewis Carroll had a rough job of it, coming up with anapaest after anapaest, all of ‘em having to do with Snarkery and all of ‘em in the finest High Anglican-cum-Nonsense bon style. However, this pate-addling task of devising pictures for verse upon which one then devises prose easily beggars any of the rather picayune literary horrors that Mr. Carroll might have endured.
Perhaps you think that I have taken the elementary precaution of creating some sort of "plan", a detailed system of references and motifs aligned with the development of the entire poem, a conceptual blueprint with which I could then research, prepare and execute each and every one of these drawings.
Such however, is not the case. In fact, it is the exact opposite of the truth. I am utterly unprepared and thoroughly disorganized, quite honestly, I am making it all up as I go along and I can’t help myself for I have no plan nor strategy nor even a sense of direction about any of this Snark stuff.
What brings all of this inner turmoil to mind is the illustration shown above of the Beaver and Butcher lost in an immense maze. They are cold, they are hungry, they are nervous and upset with one another. And why is that?
The Beaver will tell you, very indignantly, that it is because the Butcher won’t stop and ask for directions. But how can he when I have never bothered to make any!
Yes, dear ladies, gentlemen and any other sort of readers, the masculine sense of direction is marvelously blank. There's no need to ask for directions when we know that all roads lead to Boojum!
Monday, September 14, 2015
Sorry about the hiatus, it's been quite busy for me of late … here's yet another episode of my GN Hunting of the Snark, currently stuck in Fit the Fifth …
Yet another visual metaphor to frighten the kiddies lost in our labyrinthine Hunting of the Snark. The Beaver and Butcher’s above-mentioned debilitating monocurricular monomania has put them entirely in my ink-stained hands and I have reduced them to metallic tokens in a children’s board-game.
Of course, all my readers are fully aware that monomania is the obscure yet potent Ursprung (gesundheit) of that grand literary boojum, the cliché, ie, any lexical monomania shared by any number of literate chatterboxes. My readers are also aware that the cliché is the final evolutionary goal of all literature, seeing as how all words are essentially clichés designating common experiences and thoughts.
Luckily for us (and Lewis Carroll), the Beaver and Butcher do not read much. Nor do they need to, when one remembers that their Snarkomaniacal minds are furnished with an infinite babelian library of literary clichés to pass the time away with. Which is why, whenever they look about themselves in perplexity, they invariably remark to one another that they are trapped in a Borgesian* labyrinth.
Armed with such potent clichés they can safely wander Mister Carroll’s Snark-Ridden Garden of Forking Paths at all hours of the night. The Boojums of English Nonsense Verse trouble them not, their lack of reality is palpable! Yes, the Beaver and the Butcher can rely upon the succinct verdict of Mr. J.L. Borges upon all such Anglo-Saxon fictioneering, when he cooly remarked of Carroll’s taciturn literary compatriot, the Tlönist Herbert Ashe, that "in (his) life, he suffered from a sense of unreality, as do many Englishmen".
Yes, indeed, Mister Borges, everything is going our way!
* Borgesian … a clichéd epithet which renders any labyrinth instantly inert, lifeless and suitable only for cannabis-scented undergraduate bull sessions. Postgraduate scholars say pshaw to all of the above, they smugly pat themselves on their back for knowing all along that this entire business of words, clichés and texts is a cunning dodge designed to sell ‘em something, such as soap or forks or smiles! The inevitable commodification of literature and language is a subject which makes me yawn politely. Frankly, if you wordsmiths can’t de-commodify the tools of your trade, that’s your own lookout. I draw pretty pictures for an increasingly penurious and untenable living, and frankly, nothing has changed in that department since Lascaux.
Spare a copper, if you can, guv’nor, for those proto-bohemian artists who labored away in their dank garret-caves, wretchedly coughing like prognathous consumptives while they daubed away at the world’s very first illustrated Hunting of the Snark. They knew naught of hourly rates nor had they agents to negotiate with the homicidal cave-bears which regularly feasted upon them. Their sole tools were ochre and brush and with these ever so ‘umble means they sketched out the chthonic beginnings, the very aleph as it were, of the mighty labyrinth within which we are still wandering at this very moment …