Tag Archives: James Branch Cabell

Meet my former wives

In the novel 1984, George Orwell’s “protagonist Winston Smith works at a propaganda department for the state, called the ‘Ministry of Truth,’ where inconvenient news can be discarded down a ‘memory hole.’” When I married, I married for love. “People marry for a variety of reasons and with varying results. But to marry for love is to invite inevitable tragedy, ” wrote James Branch Cabell.

Tragedy by definition is painful. One way to avoid the pain is to avoid the memory. During and after each of my two marriages, I knew the woman quite well. I had lived with Vicki for six and a half years and Diana for over twenty. Who were these significant others and how did they affect my life?

Having studied Talmud during childhood and the Congress of the United States intently from 1974 to 1990, I have decided to tell myself (and thus  the “printed word”) what I told the government (at least in the first iteration) when I completed my first security clearance form in 1978. In 1978, the form’s purpose was to make it possible for me to read CIA reports (which I was surprised to learn were well-written).

Now, six months away from my 70th birthday, I feel impelled to commit myself to full disclosure. Reality compels me to admit that fullness is not achieved all at once, but at dribs and drabs. Here is the first round of partial disclosure (to be followed perhaps by more complete disclosure–don’t touch this dial.

My first wife

My first wife was Vicki Ruth Cohen. We married in Rockville, Connecticut in the summer of 1969.

One

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Second wife

My second wife was Diana Marie Bass. We married in Alexandria, Virginia in the fall of 1981.

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It is better to marry than to burn

Burn

Motto 2016

 

coyle1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true.”

James Branch Branch Cabell, 1926.

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Wikipedia:

James Branch Cabell (/ˈkæbəl/; April 14, 1879  – May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, includingH. L. Mencken, Edmund Wilson, and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when they were most popular. For Cabell, veracity was “the one unpardonable sin, not merely against art, but against human welfare.”[1]

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James

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page one of the novel Jurgen.
Page one of the novel Jurgen.

Frank C. Pape,  Cabell’s principal illustrator

Illustration in James Branch Cabell's "The Silver Stalion"
Illustration in James Branch Cabell’s “The Silver Stalion”

 

Quotes James Branch Cabell

  • No lady is ever a gentleman.
  • People marry for a variety of reasons and with varying results. But to marry for love is to invite inevitable tragedy.
  • There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.

January, 2015 Motto

[C]onsider the CNBC economy survey, showing that 53 percent of Americans are pessimistic about the current and future economic situation, while only 23 percent are optimistic.

—Washington Week, January 2, 2015

James Branch Cabell, my favorite pessimist
James Branch Cabell, my favorite pessimist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Branch_Cabell

Note 1. I am a contrarian. I believe economic and political conditions will improve over the next 10 years.

Note 2. I believe that economic improvement requires political improvement and vice versa.

Note 3. This site begins 2015 with a commitment to optimism including suggestions on how to create change that will cause pessimists to change their position.

Note 4. Optimism regarding economic and political affairs contradicts a near-lifetime of acceptance of James Branch Cabell, my favorite obscure novelist’s statement, “The optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears it is true.” The earliest example is when I was nine years old, my mother took me with her into the voting booth for the 1956 election and allowed me to push the lever for Adlai Stevenson, which I did enthusiastically.

Note 5. The motto for December 2014 has been delayed. I may be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. The motto itself is simple. For reasons endemic to my nature, I have been using many words and footnotes (yes, footnotes) to explain the importance of focusing on simplicity. As a consequence the posting is long, getting longer, and is not yet ready for publication. For reasons clear to me at the time, I decided to use the motto as a forum to advocate the use of footnotes. Academic publications are increasing abandoning The Chicago Manual of Style for style manuals which provide citations that do not require footnotes. This reminded me of footnotes I have appreciated, such as one from Hans Zinsser’s Rats, Lice, and History. I cannot find the footnote. I am not yet willing to abandon the search. Whatever decision I make, the December 2014 motto will appear when it appears. Watch this space.