The gateskeeper and the bookman

[A titbit taste of the work in progress A Republic of Books] In fact, all of this was the very subject of a couple of the novels and a play in the past few years. And it does seem now that my entire life is just a series of imagined events—the small stuff of what I...

Miss Flucker and Mr. Knox

  [Yet another scrap of a chapter from the unfinished novel in progress A Republic of Books]   I wrote that novel just last year. Not so funny the way I always placed my hero’s in their forties. Just a bit of cheap psychology, really. Those were easily my...

Notes in ink on the age of television

The book of my lifetime had only a vague but passing resemblance to those made by the Dutch emigrant to England, Wynken de Worde—like a cousin whose mother might have had extracurricular interests. The paper, the ink, the typography, the binding, and the covers of the...

On the dying of time

And the absence of Flapdragons [A bit of the novel in progress, A Republic of Books, to be found growing elsewhere on this ethereal site.] For all of my life I have been taught and heard repeatedly all the wrong things about writing, and about how to write. I think of...

The Lincoln Compromise

(Another dram of the novel in progress, A Republic of Books, to be found growing elsewhere on this ethereal site) Abraham Lincoln, whom I love as if he had been an actual character in my life and a member of my family, is one of the great villains of our history. How...

Who killed Phidias?

When simple murder is not enough [and yet another bit from the seemingly never ending novel A Republic of Books, that is the ‘work in progress’, more of which is to be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.] I once wrote a novel about Phidias. There is...

A note on the little I have learned

And that a man might be an island after all. [Yet another taste of A Republic of Books, more of which can be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.] I had some reason a few years ago to think about Eden and man’s lost innocence and whatever is the cause of this that...

The seven senses

  As is so often the case, the Greeks got there first. Perhaps not always exactly or correctly, but at least in spirit. The seven liberal arts, as set out in ancient thought as the keys to education, are grammar, logic, and rhetoric, enhanced by arithmetic, geometry,...

The Miserables

In our time, as we watch the headless corpse of France flop in the shadow of a spiritual guillotine, it is difficult to imagine an age where Hector Berlioz and Saint-Saens, Bizet, Debussy and Offenbach filled the concert halls; Rostand, Feydeau, Brieux, Claudel,...

The Miller’s tale

The two original Mad Max films had a certain intelligence behind them, extrapolating an apocalyptic future from the present. And at minimal cost. They were, like the original Star Wars films, game changers. Post-nuclear holocaust could never be the same. The third in...

Joe Bailey, and the reason for the dog

[Yet another paring of A Republic of Books, more of which can be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.]       Honest cops are a lot like honest reporters. There aren’t many of them around, and they both work for naturally corrupt organizations with political agendas...

Yes and No

There are two kinds of people, those who think there are two kinds of people and those who do not, but of course, the latter group are wrong. The very taxonomy of human being, that state of existence so bullied, bloodied, disparaged, idolized, hated, loved, condoned,...

What’s all this, then?

[A post-preamble to A Republic of Books, portions of which may be found elsewhere on this ethereal site.]   This is my chance, then, to cast myself in the hero’s role. I’ve been a humble author and bookseller for all these years. (Allow me my hyperbole—at least I’m...

The problem is . . .

The problem is that the two major political forces of our age, socialism and capitalism, are rotten to the core. Ostensibly, socialism is the ‘public’ ownership of property and capitalism is the private ownership of property. In practice, neither is true. Capitalism,...

Otto Biedermeier is dead.

My guess is that most of you did not even know he was sick. Sadly, the great filmmaker, Otto Biedermeier has died, and it is perhaps parody that killed him. And it is for that reason alone that his death is the subject of the sudden novel I have just completed. You...

An open letter to those who might be wondering.

The move from Abington, Massachusetts to Lee, New Hampshire has been better than feared, but perhaps ultimately worse for the simple demonstration of fact that I haven’t the energy, muscle mass, or psychological stamina I once had. There has been an attrition,...

Trifles taken from the alms-basket of words

[a bagatelle from A Republic of Books, a ‘novel in progress’ to be found elsewhere on this site] By the bye, the category I have chosen for my work is ‘honorificabilitudinitatibus,’ as it is found in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, if for no other...

Let us consider Cleisthenes

A fragment of marble from Mount Pentelicus [being a small sum of the novel in progress, A Republic of Books]   Nevertheless, at the end of some days, the weight of such matters does add up. Or perhaps I’m just getting too old for it. Finally alone, and at home, I...

All slaves are equal . . .

but some get to live in the big house. (Oh yes, another potable portion from the novel in progress A Republic of Books, to be found elsewhere on this site.) A novel is a flimsy currach indeed in which to set out on a journey such as this. The urgency to remain afloat...

Unto an age of Romanticism, . . .

or On the Beach. (Perchance, another potable portion from a chapter of A Republic of Books, the ‘novel in progress’ to be found elsewhere on this site.) When I arrived at 5th Street she answered the door with a deeply caught breath, as if she’s been...