Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
X is for…
xenagogy – (obsolete) a guidebook; guiding strangers
Some time ago I discovered the Wildsam guidebooks, which aren’t exactly your typical travel guide. In addition to what you might expect, they are also more like a tribute to the area they’re covering, and include personal essays, hand-drawn maps, interviews, and local lore. Exactly the kind of thing I adore. And with my love of maps, and my love of creating zines, creating a guidebook is always simmering somewhere in the back of my mind. I somehow imagine it’s just as Sharon Olds said:
“There is something in me maybe someday to be written; now it is folded, and folded, and folded, like a note in school.”
While I fully intend to create a physical guidebook of something someday, today feels like the perfect time to take you on a virtual tour. Today I’m going to take you on a road trip through my associative thinking.
Brain Stop #1
I woke up with Dashiell Hammett on my mind as he had a guest appearance in my dreams. It was a cameo role of no obvious significance and that in itself struck me as curious. Don’t you find it fascinating that odd things pop up to populate your dreams? Are they forever waiting in the wings, looking for a chance to sneak in? As I thought about Hammett, I thought about his book The Maltese Falcon. Then I thought about the movie. I love noir, and I’m going to have to watch film again soon.
Brain Stop #2
I recently heard about a news blurb about how product placement is coming for classic films. While I imagine there must be a whole slew of legal and privacy issues to be sorted through, it didn’t stop me from thinking what if the Maltese Falcon came to be known as the Maltese Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yep, off I went.
Brain Stop #3
After reigning in those thoughts run amok, it suddenly occurred to me to wonder if Maltese was somehow connected to Malta. How could I have not thought about that before? Malta! Now there’s a place I’d like to visit. Malta, home to the sleeping/dreaming goddesses.
Now let’s fold up that brain map (careful – get those creases right!)… and open up the map to Malta. This is what we’re looking for.
The Dreaming/Sleeping Goddess
Isn’t she beautiful?
I’ve had my figurine for decades. I’m never far from dream medicine/magic and once the sleeping/dreaming goddesses were on my conscious radar I tracked down a replica to purchase. I love her for all kinds of reasons – of course because of my dreamwork, but also because she’s a woman of substance. And for years when I worked as a therapist I kept her on my desk. Dreamwork was one of the first paths I found into my soul self and it felt fitting to keep her as a reminder of the blessings of that deep journey work. And over the years, particularly kids, would leave little stones or shells adding to the collection I kept surrounding her. It delights my heart knowing she helped hold space for so much healing.
The original two clay figures were found in Malta in the Hypogeum – one of the 9 remaining (of 40) goddess temples there. The figures are dated between 3000-4000 BC.
Of course the exact function of the Hypogeum and what the goddess figures represent isn’t known with certainly. But we can leave space for mystery and still recognize the power and blessings.
Jennifer Berezan, a musician I love, had the opportunity to record in the oracle chamber of the Hynogeum at Hal Saflieni, Malta, which is known for its amazing acoustics. The album she created using that work is Returning.
I can’t help but think of Saadi’s words:
So there you have it. My dream holiday. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself!)
While sometimes I think I literally have enough creative ideas and projects in the hopper to last me lifetimes, sometimes I like to open things up for outside input. Here’s your chance to offer your opinion. Should I do a xenography zine in the future, what would you like to see me create a guide for? The sky’s the limit (ah, perhaps that’s one idea already). Suggest away.
But now it’s your turn. Where would you like to visit? What would you write a guidebook for? Ever thought of mapping the stops of your brain? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Based on your description, I think Wildsam guidebooks would be delightful to read. If you wrote one about a place – or pieced one together using other people’s input for reviews and essays related to theit experience – do you know which location you would choose? I wonder if it would be more do-able to focus on a large geographic area (like a state, province, region, or country) or a small one(like a single venue, monument, park, or neighborhood)?
And, yes — The Maltese Falcon got its name from its connection with Malta. 🙂 I, too, enjoy noir. The Maltese Falcon is one of my favorite classic movies. Bogart at his best. (Or perhaps his second best… I actually think he was probably ‘best’ in The African Queen. But I think Kat Hepburn was amazing, so that might influence my viewing bias just a wee bit.)
And on the subject of Hepburn…
Yes, I well understand the wandering paths the mind travels. 😉
I have really enjoyed your ludic lexicon this month. It’s made for delightful reading. I will miss seeing these unique words – and your thoughts on them – when the A-to-Z is over.
Thanks for your kind words. I’ve really enjoyed this challenge – both the writing and the reading. I just wish there were more hours in the day! I’m a Hepburn fan as well, and while The African Queen definitely ranks in my fave list, The Maltese Falcon edges it out for me. Of course, now you’ve got me thinking about all the movies I want to rewatch. Yes, those thoughts that insist on wandering away. 🙂
There are so many places that fascinate and interest me, I’m clueless at this moment on how to choose.
Hi Deborah – fun post … mapping my brain would be just dreadful … so chaotic, many connections … but others finding their way round it … I don’t think so!! But I do wish it was worthy of mention and record in the annals of history … way too muddled, and without reason – except my own muddied version!
I’ll muddle myself even more – so will leave you and everyone else … with your fascinating Xenagogy post … cheers Hilary
LOL. I’d love to see a map of your brain Hilary. I’m thinking it would be perfectly ordered like a three-dimensional chessboard, utterly complex, and probably requiring additional footnotes and citations. 🙂
Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Eastern Europe. Alsace-Lorraine during the holidays. I will probably not travel all these places but I can always dream! I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to write a guidebook. However, I do enjoy writing personal essays, hence my blog. 🙂
I hope you have many wonderful travel adventures, Margaret. And I think anyone writing personal reflections is offering a guidebook to themselves.
…it occurs to me that blogging is a mapping of our thought processes, in a fashion… and that you have anyway begun a xenography through this very challenge – all your abecedarium work surely fall into the category of “guide to the discarded”… (or somesuch).
Through my AVbloggy I am – hopefully- providing a guide to Advaita Vedanta. It’s a map in progress! YAM xx
(who is mystified as to why your posts only turn up in twos on my reader – I enjoyed reading about wifty, too… and definitely feel that way of late!)
I really like the idea of maps in progress. It’s a perfect reminder that there are always places to grow, new leading edges to discover, and more.
It makes me laugh that I’ve somehow taken on the guise of double or nothing for you.
I sometimes like to do a rewind of the brain stops to be awed at the way our grey cells work relentlessly to connect the dots in a chaotic yet rhythmic way .
I would like to visit all places of natural beauty .
I join you in awe at our beautiful brains. And visiting places of natural beauty is the most delicious of activities. It is balm for our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls.
Love the road trip through your thinking. It is so interesting how we get from point a to b in our brains. My brain jumps all over the place.
The Wildsam guidebooks sounds wonderful. I’ve always loved travel books that are comprised of elements beyond just a list of places to stay.
Weekends In Maine
The Windsam’s I’ve seen have been great – you should check them out if you have a chance. And I agree minds are fascinating!
I was reading about the Greek concept of xenia at Carrie Ann Brownian’s A2Z. She talks about the customs of greeting travelers and treating them well. I’d love to see a guide to how xenia works in different locations.
I love the sleeping woman figure. Just looking at her brings me calm.
“X” selection of the day:
I just saw Carrie Ann’s post – it’s so informative! I love your idea for a guide – wouldn’t that be fascinating?
Brain Stop 2 — Have you watched the Jim Carrey movie “The Truman Show”?
That is a beautiful goddess. The guidebook that includes local lore sounds awesome.
I love letter X posts! Always such variety.
It’s hard to believe the blogging challenge is almost over. Then the after survey, reflections, and the road trip sign-up.
Plus, I’m taking part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in May. So much excitement!
J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author
Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t seen The Truman Show, but I’ve just added it to my list. One of the many things that delights me about A-to-Z is that I garner a wonderful list of new books and watchable – so many great finds.
I really love the X posts, too – it’s delightful to see how creative people get.
And I’m absolutely signing up to play in Bout of Books read-a-thon – it sounds like great fun. And my book pile could definitely use some marathon attention.
Where do I begin?
Let me start from the end. “There is a caravan filled with eccentric beings” took me back to your post yesterday and into our wifty wagon.
I didn’t know about Wildsam guidebooks. Now I do, I shall search for them. They sound like my cup of tea.
Your dreaming goddess is adorable. I shall worship at her altar for I love to sleep and day dream:)
My brain works like my garden. We’re open to seasons and suggestions. We can do nothing for months and suddenly sprout everything all at once. I don’t think we have a plan or a map but we are content in our wilderness.
Your garden analogy is absolutely perfect, Arti! I’m a convert and officially declare I’ve adopted this paradigm. Can you see the blossoms popping out of my head? A wildflower wilderness. 🙂
What a lovely relaxing post. Paying attention to dreams can lead us where we need to go, especially for those of us who are “creatives” practicing our art. The trick is to get out of the way and let the dreams speak.
I absolutely agree Molly.
Wow what a way of connecting the dots… When you said guidebook… I didn’t imagine this kind of a post. I almost imagined it to be how you explored a place… This one is exploring the mind in a similar way I guess. This one made me think on how my mind would work like a guidebook making me arrive at things… It definitely is not as creative as yours for sure :)! And even I love to collect these small little things that serve a mnemonics :).
It’s utterly fascinating to me how we’re all so incredibly unique in so many ways. How we think; how we think about our thinking; the metaphors we use; how we mark our journeys; what journeys we take. So many wonders, so much to be curious about. How does it get better than that?
Fun to outline the steps in the journey. When my husband and I converse we find ourselves constantly saying, “There was a connection, but…” and then introducing what appears to be a completely unrelated topic.
Ideas for a guidebook… hmmm… bees travelling among the flowers?
Black and White: X for Xanadu
That makes me smile, Anne – your conversations with your husband sound like they can fun and interesting, although I suppose it can be frustrating too.
Your guidebook idea is wonderful – thank you for the suggestion!
I love that figurine! So beautiful 🙂
My brain works like that too. I love to read travel journals, especially from long ago, and I have always played with the idea of writing one of my own, for no particular reason other than enjoying it.
The Multicolored Diary
That’s the absolute best reason to create something!
wow I love travelling on your brain train Deborah so rich varied interesting provoking stimulating quirky adorable …
should I go on
yes do a travel guide thru your treasure chest/ medicine cupboard/ curiousities
love the goddess
and yes I think our blogs are akin to travel guides
You make me smile, Sandra. I’m liking your ideas for travel guides – I love those little tingles of excitement when something lights up as a fun possibility. Thank you.