Here's your better-late-than-never monthly fanzine again, right on schedule (whose schedule, we won't discuss at this embarrassing moment). We really did have good intentions, but the stencils don't cut themselves, and despite Bruce's interest in the typewriter all he seems to manage beyond his name is qwertyuiop and other unusable phrases.

Oh well, sprong hath spring, or something. It seems to be 80 o and sunny and gusty and maybe we can take down that storm door's nightmare plastered over the front wall and get some fresh air in the place and ..... then we'll have spring fever and be even more behind schedule.

Somewhere along the line I decided that this business of sitting and staring at the typewriter each month, trying to think of a topic, was for sparrows and starlings. So like umpteen dozen faneds before me, I decided to Make a List of discussable things. I had no more luck than the others. The list is scotchtaped up to my desk cabinet, and it reads: Thoughts during a bonfire, acrophobia, and moira. At first look, it appears less help than gibbering off the top of my head, but onward.

Actually, the three topics are somewhat related for me ... very tenuously I admit, but I'll try to sketch it in for others.

Like lots of other humans, I've been fascinated by fire since I was a small child. But not just any fire. Unlike the pyromaniac, I get not even a little twitch watching a match flame or the burners on a kitchen stove. But a nice roaring trash fire has quite an allure, from a safe distance, naturally.

When I was younger, I could see pictures in the flames, just like in those reminiscing scenes in the movies .... only mine weren't exactly reminiscing ..... more just drifting along. I would see figures dancing and rising .... unreal, fantasy people, such as from Oz. I don't see them very much any more -- jaded old age, I presume. Then came a period of interest in the sound, in the fire itself; it seemed sentient to me, and I ascribed all sorts of anthropomorphic desires to it -- greediness for fuel, evil intent on onlookers, waiting its chance to pounce, or angry and regretful when it began to die. Eventually, that too became less common. Then I became aware of the fire's ability to destroy -- unsentiently and without malice -- but to destroy.

I'm not sure of the date or my exact age, but I was very young -- so much so that it was an old established habit when I first saw the movie THE LIGHT THAT FAILED. I was very young, but I can remember my horror and heartbreak .... not at the death or love story, but on one scene in the picture -- when the girl slashes the painting. I must have learned very young that creativity was work, that once loved what one made if it had been a success to the creator, and that once destroyed, it can never quite be recaptured. My mother instilled in me very early a caretaker's passion for books -- I might decorate pages or draw borders around the pictures, but if the book was destroyed, I could no longer enjoy it, and the pleasure was forever gone. Even at high school and college age, I literally seethed within when I saw a defaced book; never mind that it was dull and purchased by the gross for the school .... some people had spent time, effort, and perhaps love in producing that book. I might decry, but I would not destroy. (I made an exception in the case of racist propaganda, although I couldn't quite swallow wholesale censorship of the monstrosities). And to painting and music, I felt the same. I remember being deeply moved during the MOSCOW FIGHTS BACK documentary-propaganda short during WWII when they showed films of Tschaikowski's destroyed studio, including some notes which had never been transcribed, now gone forever. That sort of thing. It still bothers me ........ and when I see even the most trivial scribbled letter or memo or grocery list go up in flames in a trash fire, a tiny part of me says "No!" .... but a more rational segment keeps me from having foolishly burned fingers. I suspect my interest in anthropology is an outgrowth of this "never destroy or throw away ANYTHING!" drive.

Acrophobia. There are a number of theories about the phobias: they're all hogwash, they are caused by childhood traumas, they are related to a "death wish". This last is supposed to be especially true with dangerous phobias, such as the "compulsion to jump" one. I reserve judgment, because I can not conceive of a "death wish" in an eight year old child ... and that's when mine started. Oh, some eight year old children, but I wasn't unbalanced, and the fear came out of a happy blue sky. My family was on a vacation trip, and stopped at a big bridge to take photos; I took several steps down a long stairway that led to a riverside park, and then I was hit between the psyche with a sudden knowledge -- if I did not turn around and get back to the top, I would jump. There was no vertigo, and I knew perfectly well the consequences of jumping ... but I knew if I continued to look down, reason would not prevail. Is this a primitive desire to fly? It surely could not have been any sort of survival feature. Perhaps it's related to the lemming urge. But it is overpowering and terrifying and I would not recommend it to anyone considering trading one phobia for another. Strangely enough, my particular type of acrophobia only applies in solid structures such as buildings and carnival rides. The one time I went up in an airplane, I felt no fear of falling whatsoever, though I have no desire to go in for sport parachuting; I suspect I'd freeze halfway to the d-ring.

From observing Bruce from infancy, I'm skeptical of this inborn fear of falling jazz beyond the first month or so. The several times he was put down, as an infant, on an unexpectedly soft bed and sunk in several inches, and reacted only by being startled and then pleased, to his ability to pratfall straight backwards onto a mattress or trampoline without the least urge to grab, I'm inclined to believe the fear of falling is not inborn, but comes from something else.

But what?

Moira. This is a rather nebulous reminder, but then I have a rather nebulous mind. It was meant as a jog of pleasure that I am still learning ..... in the gestalt or "oh I see" school of learning. Of course one learns while reading, or should, if nothing else than not to pick this particular author again. But one can learn from other things too. In this case, a fact did not register until I saw the movie ON THE BEACH, and it suddenly dawned on me that the heroine was named Moira, and I got a little more out of an otherwise dreary evening.

And incidentally, Nevil Shute is no doubt revolving ... after this pacifist movie and its repeated and depressingly drummed in message of the futility of war or arms race, the network announcer came on afterwards, assuring everyone that "of course this is fiction, and we all know the best deterrent to war is a strong military and an armed nation" ...... I mean agree or not, talk of twisting an author's motives?! .......... JWC

Data Entry by Judy Bemis

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