CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
An entire book of front matter than never technically gets to chapter one but which instead picks the locks of the great sercrets of the universe? It's happening. We previously noted how a reader has begun using our blank book Let's Do and Say We Didn'tto create more of that blank book's front matter (along with some additional front matter from our book on Seance Parlor Feng Shui, too!) This reader is turning the blank book into an entire book of front matter. There has already been an alchemical transformation (black wet ink transmogrifying to dry blue pencil, so as to avoid bleed-through on the cheap paper that nothing is written on). And this book of front matter is reading its own mind: page 14 accurately predicts what page 15 should have done better, before it even happens.
We're delighted that an avid reader found a rare copy of our Divination by Punctuationin a remote corner of the world (though in his Dictionary, Samuel Johnson's 3rd definition of "corner" says "every corner is the whole" because a corner implies the utmost limit, the extremities).
A devoted reader ingeniously overlapped two diagrams from two of our books and applied them to the human body, illuminating a remarkable new tool.
Page 7 of Let's Do and Say We Didn't contains a map for constructing the elements of a believable lie. Upon this template, our reader doodled out a version of the Chinese bagua map from Seance Parlor Feng Shui. He noted: "They go so well together, one could easily conclude that you have illustrated the Feng Shui of Lying." But then our reader had a brainstorm — what if this new map were laid over the human body? The correspondences are uncanny. For example, the top left shoulder of the human body corresponds to both the "fortune" aspect of the bagua and the "alibi" of the lying map, and it is indeed fortuitous to have an alibi. One hand of the human body is associated with the "new beginnings" of the bagua and the "once upon a time" aspect of the lying map, appropriately writing or typing out the beginning of a story. The other hand is associated with "elements of truth" from the lying map and "creativity / metal" of the bagua, recalling the old proverb that "truth is golden." The two legs of the human body are also quite intriguing: one leg is associated with the bagua's "mentors" and the lying map's "second thoughts," and surely one's advisors offer additional thoughts and perspectives. The other leg is associated with the the bagua's "wisdom" and the lying map's "characters," and isn't it wisdom that gives a character a "leg up" or "legs" in terms of success? Also intriguing is how the human body's head is associated with the "obstacles" of the lying map and the "reputation" of the bagua, as it's commonly said that the stumbling blocks we face in life turn out to be mental constructs.
Our reader said, "Now what I believe you have done here is explain both physical Feng Shui (bagua map) and cerebral Feng Shui (story map). Place these over the body, and with a basic understanding of the difference between right and left brain activity, conscious/subconscious, I think you have discovered the holistic nature of Feng Shui. Body, Mind and Spirit. Prof. Oddfellow, I believe you are on the precipice of proving that all existence can be explained with the simple concept of Feng Shui."
We're crediting that as a Retroactive Lifetime Goal!
We also like how the reader has begun using the blank book Let's Do and Say We Didn'tto create more of that blank book's front matter (along with some additional front matter from Seance Parlor Feng Shui, too!) It could turn into an entire book of front matter ... and then a second blank book would be required, with "Book 2" written onto the front cover, to restore the whole thing as a blank book. Yet the process would have to continue -- a new blank book added every time one is filled. But there's a hack to this vicious circle -- merely retain a single blank page at the very end of the first book, and it will technically still be a blank book (merely one that demands very careful consideration on how the reader/writer might fill in that limited space).
There is only one thing to do. The veil must be lifted. The unknown designer, the unknown craftsman must be brought out into the light, recognized as any other artist is recognized, and given the privilege to affix his signature or other identifying mark to any worthy work or design, or to any direct result of his design, the product in turn to be valued as much for its artistry as its more material qualities. ... Give the designer his due, and artist, manufacturer, dealer, public, country all will be the richer. Anonymity represses. Nothing grows without light. Let us have all the light we can get. —Arts & Decoration Magazine, 1921
We spotted in the front window of Quimby's NYC none other than our How to Be Your Own Cat, featuring a preface by the acclaimed poet and novelist Gary Barwin. Reader Adam says: "I love this book and am thrilled that it is exactly what I thought it would be. A well thought out slice of human behaviour disguised as a humorous picture of the feline mind. I for one was thrilled to find out I didn't really need the education because I am already my own cat. Although I haven't listened to the floor in a while. I really must take that back up... It really is a great little psychology book for people who still use their brain cells to think. And satire has always been, in my opinion, one of the greatest teaching tools. Entertain people and they don't even realise they are actually learning something."
To publicize my YouTube channel, I'm giving away 777 copies of my PDF e-books. (Live large!) New or existing subscribers to my Youtube channel may message me with the top 3 books titles they're most interested in, and I'll write back with a private link to one of those titles that's still up for grabs. Available titles are listed on my Amazon page as well as on my two websites: oddities for word lovers are at OneLetterWords.com, and esoteric/spooky titles are at MysteryArts.com. Just let me know what your YouTube handle is, so I can verify your subscription, and your top 3 preferences from among my hundreds of publications.
"I cannot imagine a more striking example of how the human animal can cope. In response to a destructive event, these animals create an expression that is uniquely original in style and content, moving, funny and thoughtful. May we all try to do the same when life offers us the opportunity."
*Jonathan is stylish, adventurous, and occasionally uses dashes** in his writing.
**He doesn't shy from going the full em dash, and he knows how to finesse an en dash when necessary. He's no stranger to a non-breaking hypen (and that's not a minus). We're confident that he could handle a horizontal bar (even if it had to be swung).