another passage from Jonathon Green’s Odd Job Man
The slang lexicographer is by very nature a voyeur. The lexis undoubtedly leans toward pimping and prostitution, crime and imprisonment, violence and cruelty, drugged and drunken debauches, but the lexicographer is neither whore nor thief, thug nor prisoner, addict nor drunkard. Or not professionally. They are linguistic reporters, except that unlike the tabloids’ traditional formula they make no excuses and they do not leave. The job is to collect knowledge, to explicate it, and to disseminate the information that emerges. As I say, a voyeur, but ideally an informed one. (pg 38)
A week or two ago I saw the announcement for Green’s Dictionary of Slang in its online version, and almost bit (at about $60/year). Intrigued, I looked on Amazon and (1) found that the 3-volume print version could be had for a bit less than $600 via Prime, and in used form for around $300; and (2) that Jonathon Green’s Odd Job Man: Some Confessions of a Slang Lexicographer (2014) was about $4, plus shipping. I ordered the latter, and started reading it when it arrived. Fantastic so far, and I’m only 20-odd pages in. His first substantive chapter (‘Beginning’) is a fascinating and utterly unique take on autobiography, raggedy bits of wry memory:
This is in no way a conventional memoir, but some things must be said. Or so it seems to me, whose working life is so committed to searching the past for origins and roots. It is a beginning that, without the memories that those from more settled lineages have on tap, has always seemed abrupt. Perhaps, like newly arrived immigrants looking forward to their future and rushing to move beyond the past, the young have no interest in asking questions about ‘before’? Perhaps that was merely me? I failed to ask and remain in ignorance. And since the past was quite literally another country, and that country no longer exists remotely as it was, I am not going to find out. I have been trying to make up for it, by proxy, ever since. (pg 15)
A quick calculation tells me that $60/year is not all that much more than $1 a week, cheap at twice the price for a subscription. So I bit. And it looks like a real winner, now that I’ve browsed a bit and tried out the various features.
We spent a few hours in Göynük, a small town that preserves Ottoman architecture and is built on the steep hillsides of a river valley.
Many of the houses can only be reached by foot, via precipitous pathways that must be especially challenging in winter.
Most houses have gardens, even if they’re just some soil in an empty tin or yogurt pail:
and some are more elaborate:
It’s possible to see construction details in houses that await renovation
…but eventually entropy manifests:
There’s lots more to be said, of course, and quite a few more Göynük images, but I think I’ll get this one launched…
In one block on Masonic Street in Rockland are three cupolated houses right next to each other:
Sure looks like the same builder, and there must be a Tale somewhere…
I’m rather pleased with this image:
Outbuildings are usually functional-not-ornamented, and prone to desuetude. I’ll pay closer attention to them as the Project continues.
I’d like to think that I’ll use this medium more, and more creatively. We’ll see how that works itself out in the light of various realities. The vernacular architecture project is the main arrow in the quiver at the moment, and here’s a recent contribution:
David Malki captures an essence that I should have thought of myself (given that I’m thinking about how people construct the spaces they live in –and given that we now have a camera that can capture stuff in very low light). Not that there’s so very much Xmas decorating of this sort in the Midcoast, but I ought to collect some examples of what there is.
(he says permission to embed is granted)
within a kilometer of home, along Route 131 in Martinsville:
a summer place:
Pointed Fir, alluding to Sarah Orne Jewett’s Country of the Pointed Firs, written in and about Martinsville [“Dunnet Landing”] ca. 1896 (Jewett rented the schoolhouse building, next door to Pointed Fir -see text of the novella)
a bit of recent renovation:
nice big window:
not the color I’d have chosen:
A variant of the house-connector-barn, various pieces renovated at different times. The old house (ca. 1850) is to the right, 4-over-4 with a center chimney and minimal basement. The middle piece has been the kitchen for many years (and might have been added ca. 1900 or so, to judge by construction details), and the shed on the left was added to the living space only 40 or so years ago.
What with declining birthrates and the effects of global warming, purpose-built units like this schoolbus shelter are now rare in the Midcoast landscape: