Prolegomenon: The Phoenix

This is a memoir of sorts. Or for my safety, think of it as a Roman à clef, just to keep the libel police at bay.

Originally drafted thanks to an unexpected impetus, tempus has the nasty habit of fugiting and it seemed to me that those earlier words had finally exceeded their "use by" shelf-life. However after some consideration, although the bulb flickers dimly now when opening the door, it's clear that words penned under such an aegis of affection can never be fuzzy green hotdogs in the shadowy fringes of the fridge. Thus, this, again.

That what follows ever came to be, is testament to the fact that by changing but a single axiom, we each of us change the universe. As James Burke puts it, "we are what we know." Almost never do we know what we are.

These literary peregrinations commenced the day I chucked a life-long axiom into the tidy-bin. It was just like Sandahl Bergman castigating Arnold the Barbarian: "Do you want to live forever?" as she leapt over the cliff, unknowing and uncaring what lay below.

Thus began the greatest adventure of my life, requiring daily refilling of the inkwell.

The following entries were penned and discarded, then resurrected in times akin to that Dickens wrote of so elegantly in the opening sentence of his A Tale of Two Cities. He took eighty-five words; I'm a bit more loquacious.

You can thank my familiar (the neighbor cat of eerily appropriate name, who refuses eye contact, yet seems to want me around) for reminding me why I started this blog in the first place and why it shouldn't be discarded. At her suggestion, I've revised and corrected things a bit, and have contemplated some new entries.

I am weak-willed, no doubt about it. An addiction to addictions is also my curse; is meta-addiction even a word? If not, it ought to be. 

It's reported that the following conversation once took place between Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Shelley: "What makes you write?"
Byron:    "My inability to prevent it."
And then there's that wonderful speech from Oscar Wilde to the audience of the opening night performance of his Lady Windermere's Fan,
"Ladies and gentlemen: I have enjoyed this evening immensely. The actors have given us a charming rendering of a delightful play, and your appreciation has been most intelligent. I congratulate you on the great success of your performance, which persuades me that you think almost as highly of the play as I do myself."
Anyone who reads hubris into Oscar's comment is missing the point. And that takes us back to Byron again.

This is an accounting of the life of an Iowa sociopath. It seeks neither to defend nor explain but merely to describe. If it leaves you shaking your head, then its purpose has been served. If it makes you want to read Babbitt, then again its purpose has been served. But most especially, if titters come on from time to time for no apparent reason, then its purpose has indeed been served.

I suppose I should offer a few words concerning the authenticity of what follows. These events, yet to be described, really did happen and to real people. But, sensitive person that I am, various names, places and times have been slightly disguised.

But then again, none of it is true, if that makes any never-mind to you. Don’t come knocking at my door if you think you recognize yourself in the following tales. I’ll just pretend you’re a Jehovah’s Witness and turn you away like all other cutpurse peddlers loitering on the stoop.

In short, if I'm going to be busted, I want it to be for gross indecency and not libel.

I am, like Shakespeare's Glendower, still raising spirits from the vasty deep. I hope you enjoy these tales as much as I've had spinning them. Or living them!

Happy reading...

Next episode: First Steps