I dedicate this section to ‘Abdul-Baha. In His life he wrote thousands of letters, as did all the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith and Their successors. Indeed, the letter is a special instrument of communication in the Baha'i Faith. For ‘Abdu’l-Baha the letter had a certain primacy in His communications with His followers in the West, indeed around the world. ‘Abdu’l-Baha established an on-going plan for the international spread of the Faith in a series of letters called "the Tablets of the Divine Plan" which He wrote during the Great War. Twenty-five years before, following the death of His Father in 1892, ‘Abdu’l-Baha was still a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire in Akka Palestine. It was through letters and His own direct contact with early Western believers who travelled to Palestine that He guided the Faith’s spread outside the Middle East as the 19th century closed and the new century, a century He called ‘The Century of Light’ opened.
Over the years I have saved many of my own letters going back to 1957. As a body, a genre, of work, if there is any significance to this collection of letters it is in the long term. For now, their main function seems to be to occupy a dusty corner of this study, although not if my wife has anything to do with it in her concern for household hygiene. Thanks also to the Baha’i Academics Resource Library and their ‘Secondary Resource Material Section>Personal Letters’ readers can scroll down and get an overview of my "Pioneering Over Four Epochs: A Study of Autobiography>Letters Section VII. This overview provides, at least from my point of view, an interesting reflection on letters during these four epochs. Of course, my perspective is a personal one, as one might expect from 5000 personal letters, emails and internet posts that have been part of my Baha’i life since I first wrote to a young Japanese believer in 1957.
The thousands of letters and thousands of hours that this homefront and international pioneer for the Canadian Bahai community has spent writing letters in the last fifty years, 1957-2007, I dedicate to the great letter writers in Bahai history. I dedicate these hours and these letters to the Central Figures of this Faith, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice--individuals and institutions that have produced a treasure house of correspondence. Then there are the nameless and the traceless members of the international Bahai community as well as the not-so nameless and traceless, who have written what I have little doubt are literally billions of letters, emails and written communications of an epistolary nature. To these I also dedicate my collection of letters. If I also include in my dedication, the two chief precursors of this Faith, those two chief luminaries in the earliest history of this emerging world relgion, and those who responded to the seeds they sowed as far back as the time that Shaykh Ahmad left his home in N.E. Arabia in 1770(circa)---the letters of this multitude to whom I dedicate my own epistolary efforts might just reach to a distant star!
At some future time, when the tempests we are living through in these early decades and, perhaps, centuries of the Formative Age are over and a relative calm has been produced in the affairs of men, historians, archivists, biographers and analysts of many a kind will possess a literary base of a magnitude undreamt of in any previous a age. My focus here is not on this wide and many-genred literary base, however, it is on the letter and, more recently, the email and internet postings of many kinds, kinds resembling the letter in many basic ways. Letters give us a direct and spontaneous portrait of the individual. I could include here, diaries and journals since they are letters, of a sort, letters to oneself, a book of thoughts to and by oneself. But these genres, too, are not my focus. As the poet and philosopher Emerson once said: My tongue is prone to lose the way; not so my pen, for in a letter we surely put them better.(Emerson, Manuscripts and Poems: 1860-1869) This pioneer, in a period going back now fifty years, has often found that one way of doing something for another was to write a letter. Not endowed with mechanical skills and proficencies with wood and metal; not particularly interested in so many things in the popular culture like: sport, gardening, cooking, heavy doses of much of the content in the print and electronic media; indeed, I could list many personal deficencies and areas of disinterest, I found the letter was one thing I could write and in the process, perhaps, document some of my sensory perceptions of the present age--hopefully with some precision.
I often wondered, though, how useful this skill was in its apparent single-mindedness for it was not a popular sport! There is, too, some doubt, some questionableness, as to whether anyone’s letters should be taken as a reliable guide to biography. Letters often tell us more about postures that replace relationships than about the relationships themselves. Sharon Cameron points this out in her analysis of Emily Dickinson’s letters in her book: Lyric Time: Dickinson and the Limits of Genre(Johns Hopkins UP, Baltimore, 1979, p.p.11-12). Some writers of letters spring to an intimacy in their correspondence that they do not possess in their day-to-day life. I am one of those now in my sixties, for I am not particularly keen on intimacy any more, at least outside of cyberspace. Life has given me decades of it in varying degrees and I have grown tired after the many years, a lifetime it seems, of conversation. In letters I can spring to an intimacy and then forget it in a moment. As George Bernard Shaw once said: a full life has to be cleared out every day by the housemaid of foregetfulness or the air would become unbreathable. Shaw went on to add that an empty life is peopled with the absent and the imagined. (Frank Kermode, The Uses of Error,Collins, London, 1990, p.253. I’m sure this quite provocative thought is partly true, especially in our age of radio, television and assorted media that did not exist in Shaw’s time when the letter was, arguably, one of the chief means of civilized discourse.
No matter how carefully crafted and arranged a letter is, of course, it is harmless and valueless until it is activated by the decoding reader. This was a remark by one Robert McClure in another analysis of Emily Dickinsons letters(The Seductions of Emily Dickinson, p.61). I leave this introduction, the following commentary and whatever letters I have written that may be bequeathed to posterity to these future decoding readers. I wish them well and I wish them a perceptiveness in order to win, to attain, from the often grey and accustomed elements of the quotidian in these letters, any glow, flare and light on what may well prove to be the darkest hours in the history of civilization when this Cause slowly emerged from an obscurity in which it had long languished. Over these four epochs, as the first streaks of a Promised Dawn gradually were chasing away that darkness; and as the Cause slowly became a more familiar and respected feature on the international landscape, these letters became, for me, but one attempt, however inadequate, to proclaim and name and the message of Baha’u’llah. These letters illustrate, and are part of, the struggle, the setbacks, the discouragements over these same epochs and especially the years after the unique victory that the Cause won in 1963 which has consolidated itself(Century of Light, p.92) in the last four decades. And, finally, these letters are, from my point of view anyway, part of the succession of triumphs that the Cause has witnessed from its very inception. However exhausting and discouraging the process has often been--and it has certainly often been--I can not fail to take deep satisfaction on a number of fronts: one of these fronts is these letters and the mysterious dispensations of a watchful Providence that, for me if not for others, are revealed therein.
Now some poetry about 'Abdu'l-Baha and the Covenant which He symbolizes, perhaps more than anything else:
SEVERAL TURNING POINTS
If one reads my poetry over the last three decades going back to, say, the first two poems I wrote in the winter of 1980 after finally being treated for a bipolar disorder, such a reader will get the overwhelming impression of a very personal spiritual journey,1 a journey of healing. One will see spiritual crises, complexity and depth of struggle engaged in as the stuff of life that underpins my poetry and its emotional tension. There is a vulnerability and an openness underneath a bittersweet complex poetic design etched in an acid of remorse and sadness, a meditative and solemn consciousness and an identification with powerful and wise prophetic Figures in my religion. My poetry found several critical turning points: it began its spiritual journey with a special healing; it developed and became associated with the building of the Terraces on Mt. Carmel, especially beginning in that Holy Year of 1992-1993; and it developed still further when I retired at the age of 55 from the teaching profession. That solemn consciousness,2 one that had been with me as far back as the first months of my pioneering experience from August to December 1962, became the wellspring of the most exquisite celebratory joy. -Ron Price with thanks to 1Stuart Hirschberg in Poetry Criticism, Vol.7, Drew Kalasky, editor, Gale Research Inc., Detroit, 1994, p.155; and 2The Universal House of Justice, Letter April 3, 1991.
My poetry proclaims and acclaims
the pivotal centre of the unity of humankind
in the Covenant. My poetry illustrates
the dynamic effect of the Covenant
on the struggle, spread and redemptive
achievements of the Baha'i community
since His passing in that fin de siecle
when His soul proceeded to energize the world
There is here a thankful gladness,
a celebratory joy,1 a journey into
an inner world, an exploration of
a genuine self, an unlocking of a door
of many mansions, of deep complexity,
of a sweet and yet quite inaudible music.
Here is a protective structure I negotiate
as I conjure into being people from the past
and take the long journey of my healing.
1The Universal House of Justice, Letter, April 3, 1991.
5 March 2002
THE END OF AN AGE
It has often been said that 1912-1913 saw the intellectual end of the nineteenth century.1 Virginia Woolf said December 7th 1910 marked the end of the age. Firuz Kazemzadeh, professor of history at Harvard, wrote that "An entire civilization had lost its soul when in 1911-12.....'Abdu'l-Baha brought Baha'u'llah's Message to Europe."2 Barbara Tuckman said that the patricians of the Western world, the British aristocracy, were an anachronism even before their age ended in January 1906.3 A great epoch of European culture was sick to its core with a vast upper class underworld of hushed up depravity and crime.4 -Ron Price with thanks to 1 Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement, Fontana Books, London, 1996, p.27; 2Firuz Kazemzadeh, ""Europe at the Turn of the Age," World Order, 1968, p.46; 3Barabara Tuchman, The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War: 1890-1914, Bantam Books, NY, 1966; and 4 Kazemzadeh, op.cit., p.45.
Strongly built, of middle stature,
flowing, light-coloured robes,
nearly seventy, long grey hair,
broad, full, high forehead,
slightly aquiline nose, blue,
grey eyes, large, soft and
penetrating, simple bearing,
grace, dignity and majesty
in his movements, were it not
for the translations we would
not understand the words that
fell from His lips and His pen.
He is rendering a service of
such heroic proportions,
consecrating His little strength
in the evening of His life to
initiating a change in Western
society at a critical stage in its
history when it was sick to its core.
30 December 2001
MASTER FILE TO MY COLLECTION OF LETTERS
The outline below is the one that presently exists, that is, in May 2007. It tends to get altered from time to time due to the changing nature of what is still a live collection of letters. Very few of these letters are on the world wide web, perhaps as many as six to a dozen--I’ve never counted--because these letters are either personal, administrative or professional in some way or another. I prefer to keep the great body of this material confidential until at least my passing. At the present time there are 50 years of letters(1957-2007) in the collection but very little before 30 years ago in 1977; far less before 40 years ago in 1967 and none before 1957. These letters are found in some 25 volumes under eleven major sections with the following headings. Since 2001 I have added another section of letters, a 12th--the email. It is a hybrid form of letter. It now exists in an additional 25 volumes and is not categorized below as is the first 25 volumes of letters in this master file.
1. Volume 1: 1967-1984
2. Volume 2: 1985-1988
3. Volume 3: 1989-1994
4. Volume 4: 1995-1996
5. Volume 5: 1997-1999
6. Volume 6: 1999-2001
7. Volume 7: 2002-2003
8. Volume 8: 2003-2004
9. Volume 9: 2004-2005
10. Volume 10: 2005-2006
11. Volume 11: 2006-2007
II.1 Baha'i World Centre, Universal House of Justice
II.2 National, Regional and Local Institutions
2.2.1 NSA of the Baha’is of Australia
2.2.2 Hands of the Cause
2.2.3 Continental Board of Counsellors
2.2.4 BROs and RTCs
2.2.5 LSAs, The Auxiliary Board and Assistants
2.2.6 National Committees of the NSA of Australia
2.2.7 NSA of United States
III.Contacts with Publishers, Magazines and Journals
Vol 3.1 Sections 1 to 9
Vol 3.2 Sections 10 to 14
Vol 3.3 Sections 15 to 22
Vol 3.4 Sections 18 to 40
Vol.3.5 Sections 41 to 92.2
Vol 3.6 Sections 93 to 142
Vol 3.7 Sections 143 to 145
2. Association for Baha’i Studies: Canada
3. Bill Washington
4. Judy Hassall
5. Writing Articles for Magazines:1980s.
6. Dialogue Magazine: Role as Arts and Culture Editor
Vol.1-3 Letters, Essays and Notes: Vols. 1-4
1. Dennis MacEoin: Letters and Essays
2. Graham. Hassall
3. Gary Olson
1. From 1987 to 1991(see Unpublished Writings Vol.3 File No1)
X. Correspondence in Relation to Job Hunting
1. Some letters and material for the Years 1961 to 2001
1. annual emails/letters
I have written introductions to all of these 50 volumes and some of them are at Baha’i Library-Online in the Personal Letters Section. ." The purpose of these introductions is to set a context for the guesstimated correspondence of 5000 letters, since 1995 emails and since 2001 internet posts. One day I may include these introductions here, but it is unlikely The first edition/draft of the above outline was made at about the time of the opening of the Terraces in the autumn or winter of 2001 as I was about to enter the 40th year of my pioneering life. This initial draft has been revised several times due to the fact that this collection of correspondence is still "live. This outline and comment, in addition to the following two brief essays, will suffice to provide a framework for an activity that has occupied many hours of writing during my pioneering life.
9 May 2007
Note for Webpage:
THOUGHTS ON MY COLLECTION OF LETTERS
By the year 2007, fifty years after I wrote the first letter in my collection, I had gathered, amassed, collected, some 50 volumes of letters, emails and internet posts. I often wondered about the relevance of attempting to keep such a collection. Would it be of any use to future historians of the Cause examining as they might be the Baha'i experience in the last half of the twentieth century? Would this collection be seen by some readers of this web or, indeed, any future readers of this collection should there be any such readers, as an inflated attempt to blow one's own horn, so to speak? Just an exercise in pretentious egotism?
In the introduction to the Cambridge edition of the collection of D.H. Lawrence’s letters(Vol. 1: 1901-1913) James T. Boulton discusses the major influences on Lawrence’s life. These influences are reflected in his letters. Indeed, as Aldous Huxley comments, Lawrence’s life is written and painted in his letters. I feel this is only partly true of me: all the letters I wrote to my mother are, in the main, lost; all the letters I wrote to old girlfriends like Cathy Saxe and Judy Gower in the 1960s are gone. Both of these women had a formative influence on my development as a person and our relationship as it was mediated by the teachings and philosophy of the Cause would have been interesting documents and less 'personal' with the passage of time. My mother was the dominant figure in my life, at least until I was 22. Judy Gower became my first wife and dominated the personality landscape until I was 29. There were other women, but I did not write to them, at best only on a rare and occasional basis: Dorothy Weaver, Heather Penrice, Terry Pemberton-Pigott, Kit Orlick. With them I had varying degrees of intimacy as my adolescent male friendships slowly disappeared. Dorothy went on to marry Bill Carr, the first Baha'i in Greenland. Many other lettersalso were not kept—letters to innumerble other people.
It is difficult to measure the affect on my development of these people, people to whom I wrote, but did not keep the correspondence. And one might add, so what? Who cares? What's the point? In the short term and, as I write these words, there appears to be little point. The relevance, if there is any, is tied up with the progress and advancement of the Baha'i Faith in the 21st and succeeding centuries. D.H. Lawrence is now famous and so his letters became important. The relevance of this collection lies in the hands, or the arms, of the future, in the development of the Cause in this and successive centuries. In addition, the place, the part, played by and the significance given to, international pioneers in that development by future historians and analysts will also be a factor in deciding, ultimately, whether this collection will come to have any value at all. I would like to think that this exercise in collection and preservation has been worthwhile but, of course, it is impossible to predict. By that future time, I'm sure, this issue will not be a concern to me, at least I assume that to be the case when one moves beyond the grave.
My collection of letters begins first, while I was pioneering on the domestic front in northern Canada in 1967.1 But it was not until I arrived in Tasmania in 1974 that the body of letters begins to any significant extent. By then I had begun a serious relationship with a woman who would be my second wife, Christine Sheldrick. After 33 years of a more serious letter collection I have a body of epistolary resources that does paint my life in a way no other body of my writing does. Reading about D.H. Lawrence’s letters reminded me of the nature and value of an epistolary portrait. Indeed, the history of the letter is the history of portraits and relationships, communities of sentiment and life stories.2 Would this collection be of any use to the Baha'i community a century from now?
Reading about Katherine Mansfield’s letters I came across a remark by Lytton Strackey that great letter writers write constantly, with recurring zest. One of the few famous writers in the twentieth century to say praiseworthy things about the Baha'i Faith, Henry Miller, preferred writing long letters to friends to any other kind of writing. But who reads collections of his letters today? Special interest groups in the community? The years 1975 to 2007 saw a vast production of my letters. For a period in the 1990s I was not so sure that this production would continue but, now, in 2007 the future of my correspondence looks bright. Time will tell of course. Strackey points out that a fascinating correspondence results from the accumulated effect of a slow, gradual, day-to-day development, from a long leisurely unfolding of a character and a life. I like this idea, but it remains to be seen just how long this life, this collection will be and what will happen to these 50 volumes of comunication.
Behind the entire collection lies a passion, not so much a passion for life, although that was true in the years up to say 48 to 50, but a passion for experiencing the deeper realities, deeper implications at the roots of my Faith. I seem to waver from a fragility and vulnerability to an enthusiastic involvement, from an aloofness, a coolness, to a white-hot intensity. There is present in these years an urge to the immoderate as well as an indifference to so much that is life in the world of popular culture. One certainly does get a picture of a slowly unfolding life.
I have enjoyed two particular collections of letters outside of Baha'i literature: the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke and those of John Keats. Both these men were poets. Both say a great deal about writing poetry. I have also kept four 2-ring binders of: (a) quotations on the subject of letter writing and (b) introductory statements on the collections of over 80 letter writers. While all of this has been useful to me, I am quite unsure what use my own letters will be to others either now or in the future, beyond, of course, their immediate use and function as I draw on these resources for my own letters. It is interesting that, as yet, the now extensive body of Baha'i literature and commentary has no collection of letters to enrich the collection, outside those of the Central Figures and Their successors of course. Perhaps such collections will be part of a future phase of the intellectual development of this tenth stage of history.
1The first letters I wrote and received were to a Japanese Baha’i youth, Hiroshi Kamatu in 1957. No copies were kept and virtually all letters received and written from 1957 to 1967 are now lost.
2Thomas O. Beebee, Epistolary Fiction in Europe: 1500-1850, Cambridge UP, 1999.
Revised: 4 October 2007
INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME SIX OF PERSONAL LETTERS
As this 38th year of pioneering opens up I thought I would try to make a brief summary of this letter writing experience, an experience which goes back to the first letter I received from Cliff Huxtable on St. Helena in 1967 while I was living on Baffin Island. As I have pointed out on previous occasions there were letters received and mailed going back as far as about 1957, but I have not kept the letters from the period before 1967. There are many letters after 1967, at least up to about 1980, which were destroyed. Some of these may be in private hands but, since I have no fame, no significance in the general and public eye, it is unlikely that any of my letters are being kept in private hands.
If one tried to get a picture of the hey-day of my letter writing I think it would be the twenty years: 1981 and 2001. Certainly the first two decades of my letter writing, 1961-1981, were relatively sparse compared to the following twenty years. I do not have any interest in going through this collection of letters in some thirty two two-ring binders and arch-lever files. Perhaps a future day will see me making a more minute analysis of the extent and the content of these letters. Perhaps, should their potential value become more evident to me, I shall take a more serious interest in my letters. Thusfar I have made only the occasional annotation to my letters. I have also taken only a very general interest in the collections of letters of other writers. I have opened a file of 'introductions to collections of letters' by some 40 writers and have kept additional notes on the genre from the writings of other letter writers. As the Cause has gone from strength to strength in the last several decades, indeed as it has been transformed in the years I have been associated with the Baha'i Faith: 1953-2003, I seem to waver from seeing significance in the whole idea of keeping a collection of letters, to seeing the exercise as a pretentious, if not meaningless, act.
Letter writing has occasionally been a routine, perfunctory, activity; occasionally a joy, a pleasure, a delight; occasionally part of some job or community responsibility. "Letters were the very texture" wrote Henry James "of Emerson’s history." There is certainly a texture here that is not present in the other genres of this wide-ranging autobiography. This texture is also a result of a new written form, the email, a form which was present in Volume 5 of these personal letters as well, but one that makes a strong appearance in this sixth volume of these personal letters.
A great deal of life is messy work offering to the artist irrelevant, redundant and contradictory clutter. Much of letter writing falls into this category; it spoils a good story and blunts the edge. Like much of conversation it is random, routine and deals with the everyday scene, ad nauseam. But these letters tell of a life in a way that is unique, not so much as a collection of letters, for collections are a common genre over the centuries, but as a collection of letters in the third, forth and fifth epochs of the Formative Age of the Baha'i Era in the first several decades of the tenth stage of history when the Faith expanded some 12 times. They present pictures that tell of a concrete reality, a time and an age, that I hope will stand revealed to future readers. For what is here is, in part, spiritual autobiography and psychological revelation in a different literary form than my poetry.
The future of the Cause as well as the context within which these letters were written is very great, at least that is my belief. These days are precious. In these days in which I have worked for the development of this Faith in the last half of the twentieth century, when these letters were written, the individual Baha'i, myself included, while believing in the future greatness of the Cause, was confronted daily by the apparent insignificance and the small numbers of his particular Baha'i Group. The contrasting immensity, pervasiveness and complexity of the wider society in which he worked made it difficult for him to see a letter written or a meeting attended in terms of any special significance. But this will not always be the case as these years of the Formative Age advance.
These letters are, among other things, strands of experience woven into patterns, patterns in a channel, a channel that is letter writing, an expression of my art, a means of communication. By the time this collection, Volume 6: 2000-2001, begins I had become exhausted by personal contacts. This was my reason for any apparent aloofness and any insistence on solitude that is found in either my letters or poetry. Perhaps, like Rilke, I had been "too responsive for (my) own peace of mind."1 Perhaps the letters are an indication of a "great need of imparting the life within (me.)."2 Perhaps they are simply a matter of pouring experience into a mould to obtain release, to ease the pressure of life. When inspiration to write poetry lagged I often turned to correspondence. It was a "handicraft", a tool. among several others, that could keep me "at work in constant preparation for the creative moments."3 For the drama of my life, certainly by the time this volume of letters begins, was largely an inner one. The external battle went on but in a much more subdued form. "The tangled root" and "the tranquil flower" is here: cool detachment and an anguish of spirit4 and much more of the former than the latter. I leave it to future readers to find these roots and flowers. I trust their search will have its own reward.
Most of the correspondence with any one individual in the thirty-five years of collected letters was short, from, say, a week to three months. Occasionally a more frequent correspondence was struck up and lasted for several years: there are perhaps half a dozen correspondents in this category. On rare occasions a correspondence continued for many years: Roger White for a dozen years and Masoud Rowshan for nineteen. Much of what I call 'institutional correspondence' goes on for many years, twenty years or more. Perhaps in my dotage I might analyse this collection of letters in more detail. For now, though, these letters will have to sit in their files getting dusted on a monthly basis.
I hope this opening comment on Volume 6 of Section VII of Pioneering Over Three Epochs sets an initial perspective of some value. These words, begun on 1 September 1999, were continued on several occasions and completed on 26 August 2001 after living for nearly two years in George Town.
1Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke: 1892-1910, trans: J. Greene and M. Norton, WW Norton, NY, 1945, p. 12.
26 August 2001
After reading some 20 pages of letters from the Universal House of Justice on The Study of the Baha'i Faith, I was reminded of a great many other letters over the years. I tried to summarize my reaction to the content of these and other 'House' letters which I have kept in three two-ring binders going back to the mid-1970s after purchasing the first two volumes of the letters of the Universal House of Justice in Wellspring of Guidance and Letters: 1968-1973. The following poem represents one such reaction, one summary. --Ron Price, Pioneering Over Three Epochs, 22 May 1998.
Where does one fit this1 in?
On the one hand is the words'
sweetness from the lips of the
All-Merciful and, on the other,
is all else; on the one hand
a system emerging inexorably
from obscurity and, on the other,
narrow and limited understandings;
bringing into visible expression
a new creation and a painfully slow,
often unsuspected, manifestation of benefits.
Oh, to be au courant with the varied
learning of the day and the great events
of history, so as not to prove unequal
to an emergency, to strive for a measure
of comprehensive knowledge.2 For there
are so many 'emergencies', so many complex
interrelationships and principles to keep us
busy in these epochal days at the dark heart.
22 May 1998
1Extracts from Letters of the Universal House of Justice on Issues Related to the Study of the Baha'i Faith, May 1998, published in Baha'i Canada, pp.1-20.
2'Abdu'l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization, USA, 170, p.36.
3Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, USA, 1957, p. 111.
STRANDS OF MANY-COLOURED GLASS
Virginia Woolf was never confident for long about who she was. She was frightened that the centre of her personality would not hold. The protean nature of her personality caused her to be lured by the vast elements of nature, earth, sky and sea, which would protect her. She was a spider; her letters were her web. The whole composition, her collected letters, was spun in a hall of mirrors. It took a certain courage for her to enter that hall which might be filled with terror, with a nightmare, a funhouse of distortions, all part of her manic-depressive episodes. Many strands of her identity were attached to her many friends through the letter. The "horrid, dull, scrappy, scratchy letters" she said were those letters we write only to those for whom we possess "real affection." In writing letters you have to put on an unreal personality, except to those who are your intimate loved ones, and even then there are the limitations of 'this swiftly passing world.' It is rare that you can really tell it all. When we say we know someone it is our version of them, a version which is an emanation of ourself. Friends, defined in letters, were therefore part of her fragile stability.1 For me, they are part of a changing kaleidoscope which is difficult to tie down. 1 Virginia Woolf in Congenial Spirits: The Letters of Virginia Woolf, The Hogarth Press, London, 1989, p.xii.
We inhabit a selfhood in our letters
and reach out, condensing life,
therefore, falsifying it, becoming
more or less than what we are,
as you did before you gave all of
yourself in the end to the waters1.
I am a many-coloured thing in my letters,
something both real and unreal in that
many coloured glass of eternity, no hall
of mirrors, nightmare, no funhouse of distortions.
I had them all long ago.2 Now in a web of many
strands, I emanate from letters and those writers
of letters who have filled my life with their epistolary
delights and helped me define who I am in what
could be called our social construction of reality.3
1 Virginia Woolf committed suicide by drowning in 1941.
2With the gradual use of lithium as a medication for those with the bi-polar tendency in the 1960s and 1970s, the distortions in that ‘hall of mirros’ which Woolf experienced became ancient history for most manic-depressives. This was true of me—for the most part.
3Letters play a very significant part in the edification and the guidance of the believers.
21 May 1999
DROPPING PEARLS ON FOREIGN SHORES
This poem is essentially a meditation on ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Tablet to Baha’is of the Northeastern States in the Tablets of the Divine Plan and my own role as an overseas pioneer. It is also, as Barthes says below, at attempt to integrate, unify, synthesize my own life into some coherent whole. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 19 June 1996.
Narrative does not show, nor imitate, nor represent. Its purpose is to produce a spectacle. At the very least language is produced. There is an adventure in language. To put it another way: stories are not lived but told. Their function is integrative. -Roland Barthes in Narrative and the Self, Anthony Paul Kerby, Indiana UP, Bloomington, 1991, pp.93-94.
One spring, while Hattie Dixon was bringing
hot soup and rose hip tea, surrounded by a
world of superficial propriety in those quiet
‘50s when deepest needs and wants remained
unexpressed--and the Canadian Bahá’í community
was launching the opening chapter in its glorious
Mission overseas1, my mother started going to firesides.
I enjoyed that hot coffee and apple-pie on cold
Canadian winter evenings becoming, unobtrusively,
insinuatingly part of that overseas mission. So it is that
I now measure myself, my pioneering identity:
generation no.1: 1953-1975. So easy it is to spell out
these years dropping pearls on foreign shores from the
great sea of His Name. How difficult to really measure,
to judge the quickening, the variegation, the radiant
effulgences, the portion and the share, the blessing
of the seed. I don’t think I ever can while on Earth.
But I can fix my gaze upon the favours and bounties
of God.2 And I do, I shall, I will, I forget, I despair,
I do not understand, I seem to need reminding again
and again and again and again.....goodness me......
19 June 1996
1Messages To Canada, Shoghi Effendi, NSA of the Baha’is of Canada, 1965, p.69.
2’Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, USA, 1977, p.7.
By the 1950s it was clear that the British Empire, long the world centre of power, was a thing of the past. Russia and the USA had become the centres of a bi-polar world. These two countries were at the centre of the secular world as it was defined in 1953 when the Kingdom of God on earth made its unobtrusive debut. Oscar Wilde noted that "the only excuse for making a useless theory is that one admires it intensely." I find that over the years I have come to admire, to be immensely drawn toward, this association of 1953 with the beginning of the Kingdom of God on Earth. This date has a number of personal and historical meanings for me. I hope, I trust, it is not a useless theory.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Three Epochs, Unpublished Manuscript, 1999.
Quite a year that coronation year:
Stalin’s death, Churchill’s unsuccessful
quest for peace, the completion of the
Mother-temple of the West and the
inception of the Kingdom of God
on earth, an old world dieing and
a new one being born.
15 July 1999
PRISONS: OLD AND NEW
The metaphor of imprisonment haunts Australian literature.
We’re used to being ill-at-ease,
we in Canada and Australia,
in our garrisons and prisons1
from sea to sea, wall-to-wall,
fated by our history, preoccupied
but hardly knowing with distant
echoes, resounding into the present,
in our strategic locations, especially
the pioneer, archetype, putting down
roots, roots that go all over a continent,
in a new prison: our coursings through
east and west.2
You don’t escape the prison of the past
that easily even in these days of tourism,
candy-floss, take-aways and endless engines.
It’s fitting really: a new prison can now be found
across this land, this hall of mirrors and vapours
in the desert, far from those old prisons and forts,
far from those Indians, the indigenes who were
hardly-not even-human, from exile and expulsion,
here on the verandah, here where new dreams
are born, where strangeness is removed from
the heart and laid with gold, brought by a loyal
lover’s caravan. And around this house,
its intimate space, place of dreams, sign of a new
spirituality, home for a new Revelation, no darksome
well, but place of burning desire, hazardous, tortuous,
narrow: no facile pop-psychology here, no pseudo---
political jargon--one level above the ordinary with
the lover seated in the heart3 and one level below
the ordinary where we court restlessness, failure,
difficulty, more and more urgency and eagerness,
quicksilver-like, astir, aflame.
2 November 1996
1Gillian Whitlock compares the early history of Canada and its garrisons to Australia and its prisons. She goes on to compare the Arctic to the Outback. See Australian/Canadian Literatures in English, Russell McDougall and Gillian Whitlock, editors, Methuen, Melbourne, 1987, pp. 49-67.
2‘Abdu’l-Baha in Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Haifa, 1978, p.236.
3’Abdu’l-Baha in Four on an Island, Bahiyyih Nakhjavani, George Ronald, Oxford, 1983, p.67.
THE CURRENT, THE SHALLOWS AND THE MISERIES
In the first year of the first teaching Plan, 1937/8, Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar was performed in New York. In a strange and yet not-so-strange way the presentation of Julius Caesar(some 157 performances) in that opening year of the formal implementation of 'Abdu'l-Baha's teaching Plan was symbolic. For the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC represented the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Empire. Various social analysts have commented on how, beginning with the presidency of FDR in the 1930s, the American democracy became increasingly more authoritarian, more like the panoply and pageantry of the Roman Empire and less like the Republic. In addition, the spectres of fascism and communism, one man despotisms in their different ways, hung over Europe. Sociologists like Max Weber saw the threat in the form of bureaucracy. Western civilization was struggling in its death throes, perhaps as far back as the 1st WW, 1914-1918, when 'Abdu'l-Baha penned those Tablets. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 5 May 2001.
It was so clear on the stage,
in New York, even back then,
that liberalism was bankrupt.
In Orson Welles' production1
Brutus was the perennial liberal
precipitating calamities even worse
than those he sought to avert.
His tragedy was the destruction
of his own virtue through that virtue.
It might take another generation
to show the end of socialism:
isms becoming wasms
as a new Order was being born,
but oh so slowly, one person here
and one there, a group of nine here
and then there, the tree was putting
down its roots and emerging,
a gentle sapling. As the bard wrote:
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on
to fortune; omitted, all the voyage
of their life Is bound in shallows
and in miseries, On such a full sea
are we now afloat And we must
take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.2
And so, more than sixty years on,
we see the fortune. We see, too,
all the shallows and miseries on
this full sea where we are afloat.
Take the current, my friends.
It serves you now on the voyage
of your life so very very unobtrusive.
1Orsen Welles wanted to portray the darkening skies under fascism and the play was set within blood-red walls.
2Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 2, lines 268-273.
5 May 2001
THE BEGINNING OF THE DREAM
Professor Jared Diamond, in an Alfred Deakin lecture given on ABC Radio on May 15th*8:30-10:00pm* 2001 discussed the development of a positive recognition and acceptance of indigenous culture in North America and Australia. He saw the importance of native rights and the sense of an indigenous identity emerging first in the 1950s, with its roots as far back, arguably, as the 1920s. His lecture outlined the story of the development of a more supportive, a more understanding and a more equalitarian relationship with Indians, the Inuit and Aboriginals in the years since the 1950s. He stressed the need to preserve indigenous languages as a key to fostering identity. There were seven languages in Australia which had more than one thousand speakers and two in North America with radio stations which used a native language as a medium of communication in 2001. Diamond stressed, too, the importance of affirmative action and reverse discrimination in the context of many of the present and tragic situations found among indigenous peoples in these countries. I could not help but think of these developments in Western society in terms of the spread of the Baha'i teachings over the several Plans especially since 1953, but also going back to 1921 and 1916 when the Tablets of the Divine Plan were first written. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, May 15th 2001.
We went there on the weekend
and had a watery corn soup.1
It felt a little bizarre, I remember,
being with real Indians,for these
guys weren't on TV or in the movies
in a celluloid safety incapable of
nothing less than filling my Saturday
afternoon with a whole world of excitement.
Later, after I got married and moved far north
and then to Australia,2 I had them in my classrooms
and saw them in the street, but they always seemed
on the periphery, never centre,
like they lived in another world.
Occasionally, they became part of my ordinary world,
unscripted, flawed and plausible, far from technicolour
manipulation, in the kitchen eating a meal on Friday,
morning tea, could be my brother, very westernized,
an inch away from whoever I was, Johnny Weetaltuk
in Windsor, Josephee Temotee in Frobisher,
What's-his-name in Hedland.?3 The Oneness of
Humankind in the first half-century of the greatest
experiment, drama, in spiritual history.4
1 About 1960 I joined some Baha'is to go to the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Southern Ontario.
2Frobisher Bay in 1967-8 and Whyalla in 1971-2, first with the Inuit and then with Aboriginals.
3I got to know many Aboriginals and a few of the Inuit very well, some were as close as I got to anyone in my travels.
4The first half century of relationships between Baha'is in the Canadian Arctic and the Inuit, or Baha'is in the Northern Territory and Aboriginals, took place from about 1947 to 1997.
16 May 2001
A NEW VITALITY
There was a new energy and vitality that came from the American theatre and its stage in the first two epochs of the Formative Age(1921-1963). Playwrights like Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neil and musicals like Showboat, Oklahoma and West Side Story brought a new spirit to the American public and its theatre audiences. It was this same vitality, this same energy, this same spirit or perhaps some other manifestation of the spirit that helped the Guardian lay the foundation for Baha'i Administration in the U.S.A. by 1936 and that led to the successful completion of the two Seven Year Plans and the Ten Year Crusade in the U.S.A. by 1963. -Ron Price with thanks to ABC TV, 18 May 2001, "Changing Stages: Part 3-America," 9:30-10:20 pm.
You gave new life to the old,
spread it around the world,1
ignited the sixties in your way,
set me alight, sent me north
and as far from home as I could go.2
It had been there in the beginning
in the Tablets and in Bound East
for Cardiff in 1916.3
1 American theatre gave new life to British theatre in the 1950s and 1960s; American Baha'is pioneered all around the world during the Ten Year Crusade, bringing new life.
2Australia was as far away as one could go from Canada.
3The 'Tablets of the Divine Plan' were begun in 1916 and Eugene O'Neil's first one act play, 'Bound East for Cardiff,' was produced in that same year. My father was 21 in 1916 and, perhaps, passed through Cardiff leaving Wales on his way to North America where he spent the rest of his life.
18 May 2001
They were a whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure. -Scott Fitzgerald in Freud, Religion and the Roaring Twenties: A Psychoanalytic Theory of Secularization in Three Novelists--Anderson, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Henry Idema III, Rowman & Littlefield Pub., 1990, p.5.
An old world was dieing
all around them as they*
laid the foundation for
the new one so few knew.
At the Somme and Passchendaele
the dull thunder of the guns, the trench
warfare saw millions die while He quietly
penned more Tablets** for a different
kind of war for a new Order. It was just
then taking its first form as that great war
was ending and orders were changing
directions and forms. But it all happened
so quietly as noise changed the face
of Europe, as religions died on the battlefield
and people in the millions turned to sex,
alcohol and secular substitutes. They roared
into the twenties with the flapper, bathtub gin,
howling jazz, silent screen movies, lavish mansions,
sleek automobiles, and lots of glitter and tinsel---
missing the first formative years of an Order
that would change the face of history and
exhaust the energies of a young man and
make him old, old before his time; holding
the world, the new Order on his shoulders
was too much as the world went hedonistic,
went for pleasure after seeing all that death.
5 March 1996
* they='Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi
** Tablets= Tablets of the Divine Plan
A MASSIVE MENTAL PASTORAL
The ancestry of much pastoral poetry has something to do with its quality. That ancestry is song-and-dance, wooing, distance and familiarity, celebration, a subduing of the sexual element, a paradoxical element and a rejection of the aspiring mind. -Ron Price with appreciation to Hallett Smith, Elizabethan Poetry: A Study of Conventions, Meaning and Expression, University of Michigan Press, 1968(1952), chapter on pastoral poetry.
It is certain that to the discerning taste of 'famed and accomplished men of learning' the proffered treasures of kings would not compare to a single drop of the waters of knowledge, and the mountains of gold and silver could not outweigh the successful solution of a difficult problem. -'Abdu'l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization, pp.21-22.
What is this pastoral life, this quiet life
of the mind? It is a life of action as much
as action is. A life of limitation and knowing
it, is sad, but contentment, a tranquil heart,
can be found: though you know you are but
a brief candle, a walking shadow, a man with
many parts who walks, runs and frets many
times across life's multi-coloured stage.
What the mind has produced, poetic,
may last forever across the halls of time.
And if not, then, some doleful pleasantry,
some bright intensity that takes both grief
and joy and amalgamates their tones in a
defining beauty and simplicity that is so
impersonal as to be dark green moss
to which I cling, lament and sing in complex
hues right to my bones. This is the highest bliss
I know, Arcadia, and the oldest poetry in all the
world, but centred now on an aspiring mind and
its search for a necessary and massive dose of truth.
18 March 1996
The ruin of a great soul is tragic. This is the theme of Hamlet. If life's learning does not serve as the means to access the Beloved, the Most Merciful, this is the ruin of many great souls; this too is tragic. This is one of a multitude of themes in the Baha'i writings.-Ron Price with appreciation to Claude Williamson, Readings on the Character of Hamlet, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1950; and 'Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Haifa, 1978, p.110.
Some wondrous minds and
high and mighty spirits with
large usefulness die far, far
from the immortal nest, the
bonds of the Friend, the dust
of His path, the home in the nest
of heaven. The sweetness of the
venom from His lips is never tasted,
nor is converse with the Beloved
or the people of the eternal realm.
Never do they pierce the veils of
plurality but, instead, confined are
they, far, far, far from the jewelled
wisdom of this lucid faith.
21 November 1997
QUITE UNMEASUREABLE, INDEFINABLE
If a person chooses to perfect his writing and not his life, "he must refuse a heavenly mansion." Toil will leave its mark: "a raging in the dark." He will feel "the day's vanity, the night's remorse." -Ron Price with thanks to W.B. Yeats, "The Choice", W.B. Yeats The Poems, editor, Daniel Albright, J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., London, 1990, pp.296-7.
All this writing is for me a visible sign
of the melody of eternity with the chord
of creation, an attempt to establish myself
in the realm of divine trust, to bring the
Supreme Concourse to the door of my life
as I play with the heavens of mysteries,
the colours and riddles of life. Holding all
I can discover of creative thought,
I produce a spiritual word and result
that is quite immeasurable, indefineable.1
26 October 1997
1most of this perspective comes from 'Abdu'l-Baha’s statement on the cry Ya'Baha'u'l-Abha which I have applied to writing. The comparison can be made, but how validly? I leave the question unanswered.
SUBLIMITY AND EPHEMERALITY
Joshua Bell got caught up in the moment so often, so much of the time, with his violin music, with tennis, golf, with anything he took seriously, which interested him. He was frequently on some steep learning curve, totally absorbed, with an intensity that was almost neurotic and especially with playing the violin. -Ron Price with thanks to Joshua Bell and his father and mother, ABC TV, 2:35 p.m., Sunday 9 November 1997.
Constant yearning for the knowledge of Self.....this is Wisdom; all else ignorance.
- Bhagavad-Gita, 13:8-10.
He is created for the acquirement of infinite perfections, for the attainment to the sublimity of the world.... -'Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p.43.
It was wonderful to meet you, Joshua,
and have my soul lifted to the stars, past
your handsome face and sweet intensity,
your ecstasy, your aloneness: you might
just as well have been on Mars. Your teachers,
wondrous too, thank your lucky stars!
The conditions of your creative life compare
favourably to a soldier at war. Created you
were to attain sublimity, far beyond this
ephemerally, in a space of infinite perfections:
for I heard them, Josh: I heard your transcendent
melodies, intricate, lost in wonder, the product of
endless and obsessive work, but nowhere near
the abundance, the freedom and independence
of the bird who sings effortlessly in my garden.
9 November 1997
1953: A VERY BIG YEAR
The year October 1952 to October 1953 marked a Holy Year commemorating the centenary of the birth of the Mission of Baha'u'llah. -Ron Price: see Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha'i World: 1950-1957, USA, 1958, p.50.
Patti Page's 'Doggie in the Window'
was the best-selling song in America;
Frank Sinatra's 'Lean Baby,'
a new country and western,
Willie Thornton's Hound Dog
and the Drifters' Money Honey
were all turnin' them on, makin' it
big in music's big, big world.
A most wonderful and thrilling motion1
appeared in the world of existence
and the Kingdom of God on earth began
with the opening of the greatest architectural
creation since the Gothic.2 That year my mother
saw an ad in the Burlington Gazette and began
going to firesides. I was in grade four, in love with
Suzan Gregory and on the eve of my baseball career.
1'Abdu'l-Baha predicted that this would occur with the completion of the mother Temple in Chicago. This occurred in 1953: God passes by, p.351.
2So said George Gray Barnard, widely respect sculptor in the USA: God Passes By, USA, 1957, p.352.
6 July 1998
DEAMONS AND ANGELS
He sought in eastern philosophy and modern psychology means of harnessing his own obsession with sex to a powerful drive for creativity. He saw human personality as a sort of fiction. We are, he thought, a million personalities and the dramaturgical nature of social life with its endless social roles, parts, stages, acts, plays requires us "to puppetize a bit." In the process he became very successful at communicating. He also became very conscious of the monsters inside him, of getting old, of becoming easily fatigued, of a falsity in him, of his not really enjoying life, of not being happy, of being bored, but being difficult to please and feeling as if he had been still-born. -Ron Price, a partial summary of the personality of Lawrence Durrell, with thanks to Gordon Bowker, Through the Dark Labyrinth: A Biography of Lawrence Durrell, St. Martin's Press, NY, 1997.
I think I've put my daemons in their place,
they creep in the early hours of day into the
sessions of my thought and seep into those
obsessions that are my burden, my transient
dust, my slough of heedlessness, far from the
fruit of holiness and its tree of wondrous glory.
These are my fancies, my imaginings,
my tribulations, my foul dregs of impurity:
the price I pay for having scaled the peak
so many times, felt the heavenly outpourings
descend and the radiant effulgences appear.1
Lead me, oh my Lord, before the light fades,
further down into this valley of quiet where life's
harvest mellows into golden wisdom2 and those
daemons keep my angels alive and well.
1'Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, USA, 1977, p.6.
2Many phrases in this poem come from Baha'u'llah's The Hidden Words.
4 July 1998
EMERGING INTO THE BIG TIME
Something that has more and more impressed me as this poetic corpus has developed--is the significance of some events in the past that at the time seemed to be simple, natural happenings, not endowed with any earth-shattering importance. Some events take place so slowly and unobtrusively one is not even conscious of them taking place. This poem tries to paint the colours of such an event such a process. Now, of course, I can endow the event, the process, with the meaning it only seems to acquire in retrospect.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Three Epochs, Unpublished Manuscript.
The Kingston Trio, the Limelighters,
Peter, Paul and Mary, Judy Collins,
Joan Baez all emerged from
coffeehouses into the big time,1
the first wave of folk music with
crystal voices and guitars,
hummable melodies, sweet
harmonies and intelligible lyrics:
as I emerged from a fragile chrysalis
into a butterfly on its first flight with
no idea what "flight" meant, as I threw
a hardball from the mound, studied
French in that blue text book, went
swimming in the summer in Ontario's
lakes, played golf in the garden, saw
my dad grow old and began to form
infinitely slowly my Weltanschauung.2
Little did I know that I had entered
the big time, some master plan of
creation, with its soft and permeable
boundaries3 where I could fly forever,
everywhere, pollinating the flowers4
of infinite perfectability and sublimity.5
1 They emerged by 1960 according to Mike Jahn, The Story of Rock from Elvis Presley to the Rolling Stones, NY, Quadrangle, 1975, pp.93-96.
2I emerged by 1960. By January 1, 1960, I had been a Baha'i for something less than 100 days and slowly acquired a comprehensive world view or philosophy of life, in this case from the standpoint of a religion emerging slowly from its chrysalis of obscurity.
3Will van den Hoonaard discusses the 'soft and permeable boundaries' of the Baha'i community in the first half century of its growth in Canada: 1898-1948.
4The process of physical pollination is described beautifully in "Flowers and Insects" by Jay and Constance Conrader, World Order, Spring 1969, pp.30-38; spiritual 'pollination' has interesting parallels which are implied here.
5'Abdu'l-Baha mentions the perfectibility of man in the context of eternity in Tablets of the Divine Plan, USA, 1977, p.43.
7 July 1998
NO REAL REST
In the very act of succeeding at anything one must cut oneself off from some vital part of yourself. The most successful see everyone else's needs but not their own. Their success, their ambition, their desire to know, to do, to be, is the cause of their downfall. That is the tragic fate inherent in the struggle of the ambitious.1 Succeeding is often related to serving and, as 'Abdu'l-Baha puts it in advising those who are ambitious for the Cause: "lay down your very lives, and as ye yield yourselves, rejoice."2 -1 David Denby, Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1996, p.116; and 2 'Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Haifa, 1978, p.72.
The temptation to rest, to ease,
to composure, is overwhelming-
and inevitably we need our rest-
but there is no real rest until the
end. This truth is part of western
man since the Odyssey and the Iliad.
There's something demonic, unappeasable,
unreachable in us; a state of receptivity is
created through this condition, for the standard
of peace and oneness to be realized. All the ideal
forces and confirmations1 must be able to rush to
our support, to take our attack to the very centre
of the powers of the earth, to crown our heads
with the diadem of the Kingdom and its jewels.
19 July 1998
1'Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, USA, 1977, p. 47.
SOME PLACE WITHIN
On coming across an analysis1 of Anthony Trollop's use of repetitions, common expressions, literary allusions, rhythmic and structural material he had read--I was reminded of my own favorite source material: Baha'u'llah's Seven Valleys and Hidden Words, 'Abdu'l-Baha's Secret of Divine Civilization and Tablets of the Divine Plan, Shoghi Effendi's God Passes by and The Universal House of Justice's Ridvan Messages, inter alia; and my favorite phrases, concepts and ideas like: epochs, varied time frames, poetry's function, self, soul, 1962, age of transition, world order, inter alia, et cetera, et cetera. -Ron Price with thanks to Elizabeth Epperly, Patterns of Repetition in Trollope, The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D.C., 1989.
Other texts slip in at all levels:
surrounding culture, previous
culture, future culture, patterns,
social idioms, all absorbed,
redistributed, but more, far more
than sources and influences.
Much is anonymous, origins
hardly identifiable, without
quotation marks, from some
place within, inner, private and
for mostly completely unknown
1 September 1998