Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas is, or at least ought to be, more a time for blessing than blasting.

So I won’t even bother to list, let alone blast, the miscellaneous reasons why my plans to post all sorts of things over the past couple of weeks — a review of Oleg Grabar’s beautiful Masterpieces of Islamic Art: The Decorated Page from the 8th to the 17th Century, for instance, or a festive evisceration of our Poet Laureate’s latest offering — came to nothing, noting only in passing the modest hope that 2010 will offer at least the odd moment of leisure, contemplation and steady self-confidence, free from ‘why even bother with blogging anyway?’ sub-existential crises. Well, we shall see.

First, though, seasonal blessings are the order of the day. Specifically, bless the friends of Fugitive Ink, old and new. Warmest thanks for reading the over-written and sporadically-posted nonsense that appears here, saying interesting things about it, linking to it or voting for it, sending emails that amused or inspired, and generally providing the encouragement without which I’d have given up on this project years ago, or perhaps never even started it in the first place.

Your support and kindness matters more than you probably realise. In any event, best wishes to every one of you for a very happy Christmas, followed by a New Year full of nothing but pleasant surprises — see you again, I hope, in 2010.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

  1. Gaw

    Thanks for providing something so uniquely wonderful. Have a lovely Christmas and New Year!

  2. How did you ever get your cat to tolerate the hat! (The animal does not look happy.)

    I never consider your posts “over-written” ~ I look at them as “in-depth” & look forward to more in 2010.
    Happy Holiday…

  3. Thanks, Gareth. Discovering your blog was one of the signal online treats of 2009 — I’m looking forward to reading much more in 2010.

    And thanks for the kind comments, M. N. Nolden — a long-time friend of this blog, whose lunar images have a Palmer-like magic about them. The cat in question, you may be interested to learn, was selected specifically for his willingness to strike the sort of baleful glare uniquely suited to Fugitive Ink’s festive message — but don’t worry, his brief sojourn in a silly looking hat was subsequently rewarded with plenty of roast pheasant. He’s looking a lot more cheerful now!

  4. Liberanos

    The decrepit old hag which is 2009 may still have enough breath to curse us with a snowy oath before finally expiring, but I for one am determined to keep my footing while dancing on her grave.

    Here’s to the infant year, and may you and all your readers enjoy every moment of it.

  5. JL

    A belated merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and yours, especially that absolutely beautiful cat, and thank you so much for Fugitive Ink, which brights days throughout the year. Though I’ve not always had much to show for it in terms of writing of my own, you should know that your posts have given me much pleasure not only through the reading of them, but the lines of thought (and numerous book purchases) they’ve inspired. I should also note that I am always willing to wear a Santa hat in exchange for roast pheasant.

    If I may offer a small blast of my own, even if it’s not in keeping with the spirit of the holidays: blast whoever made the decision to publish Oleg Grabar’s collected essays as part of the Variorium Collected Studies series, which charges exorbitant prices for each volume. I realize that scholarly art history books aren’t cheap to produce, nor come with a large ready audience, but couldn’t it have been possible to bring something out more in line with the prices of Grabar’s other available books, or perhaps merely double the cost of Meyer Shapiro’s collected essays? At least some effort to put them beyond the reach of academic libraries or the obsessed would have been appreciated (and they could use a break, too, when it comes to that.)

    In any event, I look forward to reading more in the New Year. And if I ever get around to it, I’ve got a few thoughts about this book on the Society of Dilettanti I’ve been meaning to put down (it’s good, if a little scattershot at times, and has many interesting things to say about the Society’s portraits and patronage; but the author’s conclusion–that the decline of the Dilettanti marked the rise of the artist as the arbiter of taste–made me run for my Haskell. But more on that another time, I hope not too far away.)

  6. JL! Earlier today I was contemplating some semi-rare-breed pears on the kitchen table, wondering whether they were ready for consumption yet. Is that how I conjured you up? Will that methodology work reliably?

    In any event it is always a great treat to hear from you. I do hope that you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and wish you every good thing in 2010 — and after those kind comments, I imagine the cat in question is enthusiastic about you, too.

    Substantive, as opposed to seasonal matters next: let’s amplify that blast of yours. Yes, $170 for a smallish book of art essays is rather a lot — but what’s the justification for converting this into £161 UK? Even given sterling’s current debauched condition, that isn’t really a very good exchange rate, is it?

    Still, Grabar enthusiasts with shallow pockets, or a righteous horror of exploitation, might wish to consider one of my Christmas presents (incoming), Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World (1999), nearly 800 pages of slightly surreal scholarship, starting off with perfectly reasonable and indeed fascinating essays before dissolving into encyclopaedic weirdness of a high order indeed: ‘Horapollon’, ‘horoscopes’, ‘horses’, ‘housing’ and ‘Huns’ follow on from each other with an ease that starts to seem almost natural after the first few thousand words. Even you, JL, might discover something new here. All for £35, no less. So the folks at Variorium really have no excuse at all.

    And finally, just to state the obvious — is there anything that can be done to make you write down those ‘few thoughts’ (!) about the Dilettanti book — now, by the way, resting safely in my own Amazon basket — particularly now that your Haskell punchline has already reduced a certain sort of reader to degrees of appreciation only slightly tinged with a friendly simulacrum of envy? Answers on a postcard, please — although in your case, JL, a blogpost would be even better. Time for a New Year’s resolution on your part, methinks …

    Seriously though, it’s wonderful to hear from you. All best wishes for 2010.

  7. Cheers and huzzahs for the new year. Fugitive Ink embodies the standards of lucidity, erudition, and class that I hope my own writings attain sometimes in their better moments. I look forward to more in 2010.

    Same goes for JL.

  8. Thanks, Franklin! Best wishes to you for a happy and successful 2010.

    Meanwhile the prospect of seeking out your recent New Criterion piece — better late than never — is shaping up as one of the new year’s more reliable treats. (And yes, I know it’s available online, too, but if you will go and get yourself published in a magazine that is printed in such a ravishingly beautiful font, with such nice cover-stock too, what can you expect?)