Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bright Buttons

Today I had the great privilege of escorting Megan Abbott around all the scariest parts of the library. She picked out a book for me, gentler than the ones I've been checking out on my own: FAIRIES AT WORK AND PLAY, Observed by Geoffrey Hodson. It's from 1925, and published by the Theosophical Society. And yes, "Observed by." There's nothing "postmodern" going on here. This guy is just telling you about these creatures he has studied in the sort of matter-of-fact prose you'd find in a bird-watching guide. Of the brownie, Mr. Hodson writes, "A medieval style of attire is invariably affected. A short brown coat, sometimes with a wide scalloped collar, bright buttons and facings of green, brown knee breeches, rough stockings, and two distinct kinds of boots: sometimes a large heavy 'agricultural' boot is worn; at others a long pointed shoe of lighter make." This reminds me of something else Grant Morrison said about Superman. He tells the story of the Golden Age comic book writer Alvin Schwartz, who claimed to have met and talked with Superman by using a Tibetan meditation technique that has been discussed right here on this very "blog" in the past. Superman was "all made of one substance: hair, skin, costume... like a creature formed of resplendent talking clay."