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.
"You want to go into the desert and learn higher magic, nebbich, when you … cannot distinguish a Hall of Riddles from the real world and do not even suspect that the books of life contain something other than what is written on the spine?" —Gustav Meyrink, The Green Face
Having already seen the world through rose-colored glasses, we're now enjoying the view through lurid Jello-green flexi-discs! The grass is definitely greener on the flip side! We're celebrating the Retroactive Lifetime Goal of having our voice recorded onto a lurid Jello-O green flexi-disc in the new issue of Fiddler's Green magazine!
"[W]henever I closed my eyes, the letters of the alphabet shifted around like Scrabble pieces and formed words. Those words lined up and soon I imagined entire pages of writing so clearly that I could actually read them, sentence after sentence, as if I were reading straight from a book. A book I had written, with my name on the cover ..." —Jack Gantos
"There at last he was free and forever from those halls hung with enigmas, tapestried with tears, before which the sphinx in fight gallops like a jackal." The final line in The Ghost Girl by Edgar Saltus, 1922.
Eerily, this passage seems to describe our very own sanctum!
Quimby's Bookstore NYC knows that some books are best lit by a cloven-footed lamp. Owner Steven Svymbersky writes: "Just got in a fine selection of the esoteric and amusing books by Prof. Oddfellow. Special."
In the second photo, our display table is on the right.
This fine indie bookstore welcomes heart-clicks over at Instagram:
Here are cut-out paper spectacles for seeing more than is readily apparent in any book. They're from ourMachinarium Verbosus: A Curiosity Cabinet of Gadgets To Transform Any Book & Reader, To Be Sure. But please note that Machinarium Verbosus is a book for the few—the very few. If it's important to one's psychological well-being that the machinations of the Universe be neat and tidy and wholly comprehensible by the human mind, then absolutely do not proceed with this book's experiments. Let this constitute a very serious warning: do not take these experiments lightly, as any one of them may induce an existential crisis.
Cut out and don these transformative specs before you read. (Wear them along with your prescription glasses, if necessary.) Reading offers "new lenses for seeing [one]self and the world in different ways. Reading transforms [oneself]" (Jeffrey Wilhelm, Action Strategies For Deepening Comprehension, 2002).
Why symbolic glasses? Symbols invite us "to see more than is readily apparent, to intuit something other than the obvious" (Krzysztof Kieslowski).
"You can learn to keep the lenses of your symbolic glasses fairly free of the dust of ignorance, the grease spots of prejudice, the grime of hatred and fear. You can learn to bend and stretch the frames if they don't fit comfortably; but you can never take the glasses off" (Lew Sarett, Basic Principles of Speech, 1958).
Prof. Oddfellow has carried the logical approach to nonsense to even greater heights than before. The logic of two absurd systems logically joined into a masterpiece of faith for fools that could stop us from killing each other. My delight lies in making up meaning, but his talent in this is unsurpassed. This treatise will lurk about on our coffee table waiting to preside over a promising guest. In the meantime, I might play with feng shui myself.