Encyclopaedia

It seems to me that Hooting Yard ought to have an overarching theme for the new year, a programme or project to act as a spur to my puny and often idle brainpans. The 2012 perpilocution project worked very well, for example, though similar schemes, based on diaries in 2013 and birds in 2014 petered out fairly rapidly. What, then, for 2015?

I have been wondering for quite some time whether I ought to cobble together an Encyclopaedia of Everything. Ambitious as this project is, it would certainly keep me occupied for a year. The challenge is to subdivide Everything into 365 discrete units, allowing me to pluck one from the midden each day and to dazzle you lot with a well-crafted splurge of prose. A moment’s thought, gazing out of the window at crows in the wind, is enough to convince me of the foolhardiness of this idea.

But if, instead of dealing with Everything, I limit myself to one particular topic – say, birds, or eggs, or foopball stars of the 1950s, or instances of shadow puppetry in the cinema – I run the risk of boring both you lot and myself. There must be a happy medium, somewhere between the general and the particular, not quite Everything, perhaps, but an Encyclopaedia of Much. I then have to decide how to construct it, what arrangement to follow. The temptation to stare out of the window again becomes overwhelming.

I could begin, I suppose, by telling you that a window is made out of glass, but that the crow I can see, in the failing light, though the window, is not made of glass. It is entirely possible to make a toy or decorative or model crow out of glass, but it is difficult to imagine a window made out of crows. Let us nonetheless imagine such a thing. You would need to gather together a fair number of crows, and jam them into a frame such that they filled the space within the frame. To keep the crows in place it would be best to slaughter them and then stuff them using your taxidermy skills. You would then remove the glass window in its frame and replace it with the crow window which, I think you will rapidly notice, occludes most if not all of the light blazing in from the outside. Only, right now, the light is failing, not blazing, so the new crow-window makes little difference. Either way, you still need some interior artificial light, such as that emitted by candle-flames, unless you wish to sit slumped in the darkness imagining, out on the lawn, a crow made of glass. Consider, then, how everything relates to everything else, birds to windows, taxidermy to candlelight, darkness to darkness at the dawning of the year.

Encyclopaedia Topics Addressed : candles, crows, glass, stuffing.

If you have found this postage enlightening, please add your ha’ppenyworth to Mr Key’s pot. You may wish to donate even if you remain unenlightened and quite frankly baffled by the sheer stupidity of the foregoing.

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One thought on “Encyclopaedia

  1. A single crow, sufficiently flattened may be the answer to this conundrum. If only a few molecules in thickness, this might allow the passage of light, enough to make the burning of candles in daytime unnecessary. There would, however, be the challenge of floppiness in this crow material. An infusion of resin might do the trick.

    I’d be interested to hear of any historic examples of animals used as window material. Perhaps this could be a topic of further discussion by your esteemed self.

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