BEING A SERIOUS music buff, I have read many books and articles about music theory, harmony, and composition, and I guess that I have watched and enjoyed nearly all of the excellent New York Philharmonic Concert Specials on television, with Leonard Bernstein. But in my desultory study of music and musicians over these many years, one inescapable conclusion has become obvious. Composers write music for other musicians, not for lay audiences who are ill-equipped with the necessary background to appreciate their creations. Upon closer inspection I discovered that this same generalization is true for the many branches of the fine arts, especially in sculpture, photography, and painting. The contributing artists are the primary appreciators and critics of contemporary art.
Now that I am a dues-paid member of NAPA, and have received three monthly bundles to date, I am not too surprised to observe that most amateur writers, publishers, and printers contribute nearly exclusively for one another. But I am surprised that the distribution of amateur publications is so restricted. Wouldn’t a lay readership appreciate the hand-crafted products of NAPA?
Jacob L. Warner, in issue No. 1, July 1969, of The Boxwooder, pointed out a painful truth that afflicts lay readers. The majority of readers do not take the slightest notice of anything we consider sacred in printing, except legibility. They could care less about creative layouts, harmony of typefaces, fitness, or choice of paper. I suspect that the primary reason for this is the fact that daily we are subjected to an avalanche of printed matter. What junk mail did you get today? How many perfectly printed, full-color advertisements did you throw in the wastebasket this week? Our optical taste has been thoroughly cloyed by this daily glut of finely printed advertising, and constant exposure to thousands of printed words and pictures in newspapers and magazines.
What a fantastic anachronism… amateur Gutenberg-type printing in the latter third of the twentieth century, the “Space Age”! How primitive and time-consuming hand composition is when compared with the 15 lines per minute average of the rapidly obsolete-becoming Lektron Linotype of today, or some of the truly fantastic computer controlled photo-typesetters that are revolutionizing printing now.
But this is my hobby. I am an anachronism too! In this gone-mad-with-progress age I have only recently learned to appreciate the beautiful layouts, typography, and unique printing papers of amateur printing. I now thoroughly appreciate the books in my library, and am ever searching for the beautiful in printed works that I formerly had no appreciation for. I would enjoy sharing this new appreciation with others who also care, so I am joining the many publishers of NAPA with my new journal, Lapsus Calamus, with the avowed intention of writing and printing for other writers and printers. I enjoy doing it, and I hope that you will enjoy sharing it with me.
Two physicians discuss the wisdom of aborting a woman who has had German measles and is hence likely to produce a deformed child.
“Doctor,” says one, “I’d like your professional opinion. The question is, should the pregnancy have been terminated or not? The father was syphilitic. The mother was tuberculous. They had already had four children: the first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf and dumb, and the fourth was tuberculous. The woman was pregnant for the fifth time. As the attending physician, what would you have done?”
“I would have terminated the pregnancy.”
“Then you would have murdered Beethoven!”
Some Favorite Quotations
Those who have never found either joy or solace in nature might begin by looking not for the joy they can get, but for the joy that is there amid those portions of the earth man has not entirely preempted for his own use. – Joseph Wood Krutch
The earth is more wonderful than it is convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; more to be admired and enjoyed than used. – Henry David Thoreau
The best occupation of a crocodile is to rest. – Bertrand Russell
Lapsus Calamus is a publication of The Whippoorwill Press, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. J. Hill Hamon, Prop.