Ely and Me: A Memoir Continued and Completed

Okay, where was I?  I’d gotten this book (two copies actually) home from the Safeway (see previous post if narrative flow is an issue for you).  The title’s The Flight into Egypt.  The author is Timothy Ely.  It turns out to have a forward by Terence McKenna.  The drawings are, almost literally, out of this world.  The text is unreadable… but in a good way. Very good.  McKenna describes it as “glyptoglossia, the rare written equivalent of glossolalia.” 

McKenna himself is enough of a name to give this book credibility, at least credibility of a sort.  He’s the kind of guy who, even if you’re pretty sure he’s wrong about something, is wrong in a productive and provocative way.  If you’re not familiar with him, do a little looking in the usual places.  You won’t be bored.  And he has his own theories about glossolalia.

There’s an intro by the author and an interview with him at the end.  The interview is titled “Access to a Book That Won’t Open”  and that in itself says something.  Particularly since Ely is a bookmaker (not the horse race kind, the other kind) by profession and his subtitle is “Binding the Book.”  It’s not really worth going into any more than that.  Actually, The Flight into Egypt is probably one of those books that you just need to struggle with by yourself before reading any exegesis at all.  And that’s not the point here anyway.  The point is the effect it had on me.

No, I did not start speaking in tongues.  What I did was start drawing again.  And taking some classes: drawing and painting.  And doing some odd stuff with found objects that won the admiration of my cat and few others.  And just generally getting interested in the visual arts again. I did cut up one of the books for classroom use, one of my periodic attempts to alchemically alter my student’s minds without telling them what I was doing.  Who knows if it had any effect.  In the years I did that particular bulletin board, I never got any complaints from parents.  That alone was a plus.  School administrators?  In my experience they don’t notice much that falls outside the very narrow frame of the measurable and the PowerPoint-able.  They have their own form of glossolalia.

So, that’s basically it, the memory that came back to me a few days ago.  Once upon a time I found a book in an unlikely place, a book that deserved a far better fate than to be jammed into the bottom of bargain cart.  I cut up a copy, I saved a copy, I left a copy behind. 

Not enough for a movie, I suppose.  How about an opera?  For heaven’s sake, they’re making one out of An Inconvenient Truth.  Though not, evidently, without a problem or two.

Take a look at Ely’s website.  If you’re nuts about books (the way I am), you might take a look here too.  With all the money the government’s throwing around, it might be nice if they gave those guys some of it.

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