Friday, December 08, 2006

I Love to Josh

I'm back and ready to "blog"! I suppose I should have mentioned I was only going on an overnight excursion. I made it sound as if I were off on a long and dangerous voyage by sea. As short as the trip was, something haunted me the whole time. I was afraid I had left you with a false impression. I hope it is absolutely clear that I was only joshing, and that I have no inkling in my heart that Mike Sacks and Ted Travelstead were drawing inspiration from me in any way. Putting quotation marks around something is, after all, no personal property of mine. Those fellows had their own quite effective dramatic and comic use for the ploy. As for me, I DID steal much of the way I use quotation marks - specifically, from Charles Portis. Here you can read an interesting interview with old friend of the "blog" Tom Franklin, where he elaborates on a similar inspiration. My use of exclamation points comes, in large part, by way of Mr. Portis' memorable comic novel THE DOG OF THE SOUTH. Once or twice I have even fallen victim to actual dismaying bouts of comedy coincidence of the kind I joshed about in my comments on Mr. Sacks and Mr. Travelstead. For example, I wrote a "clever" parody of Marcus Aurelius (you can access a bit of it through this old "post") only to find out, after its publication, that a much earlier and much funnier Marcus Aurelius parody was in existence. Also, my 2005 book THE MYSTERIOUS SECRET OF THE VALUABLE TREASURE contained a mock "About the Contributors" section, which I thought was a real "riot." Well, only recently I purchased Robert Benchley's 1936 collection MY TEN YEARS IN A QUANDARY AND HOW THEY GREW in a used book store and found out that Mr. Benchley (pictured) beat me to the punch with the same general idea by more than 70 years. It certainly is a funny world we live in or something.