The Lichtenbergian Society Annual Meeting

Well, that was one of the best times I’ve ever had. You might surmise from the fact that it’s been 36 hours since the meeting and I’m just now posting about it that I had too large a time, and indeed most of yesterday was spent recouping my precious bodily fluids.

I don’t think we decided anything of importance, correct me if I’m wrong here, but we did get some things done. We ratified and signed the Charter (everyone got his own copy, suitable for framing); we acclaimed our officers, such as they are; we engrossed our Lichtenbergian Efforts for 2007 into the Record then engrossed our Proposed Efforts for 2008. That was interesting, because rather than a stately confession, which would have been dreary, it was a relaxed, open discussion of our goals and wishes, and it’s always fascinating to discover how multitalented the group is.

Throughout, there were toasts: to Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (who, far from being some obscure Enlightenment aphorist, turns out to be a major if inconsequential Enlightenment aphorist); to the Corroborative Evidence, consigned to the flames; to our Efforts; to our Proposed Efforts. There may have been one or two more. Memory is unclear. The first toast, to GCL, was made with the little bottle I had bought in Waldkirchen/Hofvonstein. It was labeled as being from Waldkirchen, but that’s all the ID it had. The ladies in the shop sort of giggled when I picked it up, saying only that it was “eine Spezialität” of the area. So of course it was moonshine, which probably makes sense given Waldkirchen’s history of gold-mining days.

And then we talked and talked and talked about Art: what is it? Who knows? We certainly got nowhere in our discussion, but it was the creative, intelligent conversation that was the attraction. We probably could have been more determined to at least examine the sources of our creativity, although we did give both God and evolutionary forces a tip of the hat, but perhaps we can continue the conversation next year.

The night was cold and drear, but after it stopped drizzling and the fire was really going, it was not bad at all. For seven hours we talked and toasted and were simply together. It was an amazingly good time.

For the record, there was no naked dancing, although several of us did accept the Mark, a handprint of ash on our chests. Well, Matthew didn’t take his on his chest, but you get the idea. We also all accepted a coal from the fire to set on our desks as a reminder of our Lichtenbergian ideals, whatever those turn out to be.

Next Annual Meeting: Saturday, December 20.

9 thoughts on “The Lichtenbergian Society Annual Meeting

  1. Got it on my calendar already. Must agree — amazingly good time. Never underestimate the value of good company and excellent conversation. And, hokey as it may sound, I did feel transformed by the experience — rejuvenated. Like church, when it functions in the manner it should, we gather together in a sacred space for nourishment (and isn’t the sacred fire one of the primodial sacred spaces?), and then we go back out into the world, replenished and ready to meet whatever challenges lay before us. For me at least, the ritual worked. My charter will be framed and will hang proudly by my desk at the Times-Herald. And the coal will sit on my desk at home, where the more creative stuff tends to happen. I can’t help but think that we’re on to something.

  2. Wow! Looks like I missed one great gathering. But I was there in spirit and my body always feels like it is recovering from an all night party so I can empathize there also. I’ll shoot for next year and either be at the December gathering or maybe give you guys your first wake to celebrate.

  3. Extra thanks to Dale for hosting.
    Extra thanks to JB for his flattering insistence that I was hoarding hidden treasures.
    Extra thanks to Turf and his knack for finding things.
    Extra thanks to Funt for his honesty.
    Extra thanks to Matthew for showing up.

  4. OK, quiet revolution in progress. I just took down a map of Coweta County from the newsroom wall (it’s been hanging there since the mid-80s, at least) and hung up, in its stead, the Carta Lichtenbergiansis. We’ll see how long it takes anyone to notice.

  5. The charter is still up. Don’t think anyone has noticed yet.

    So last night Barbara and I saw Sweeney Todd. I have to say that I was not impressed. The production design and overall look of Old London was sumptuous, but it was nothing that Tim Burton hasn’t done better in films like Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, or even Vincent. Johnny Depp should never have been cast in this role. When he wasn’t channeling Edward Scissorhands or Jack Sparrow, he was evoking his turn in From Hell. I don’t like it when I’m watching a movie and I’m constantly being reminded not of LIFE, but of other (usually better) movies. The music is not as good as the music from Into the Woods, and I would LOVE for that to get the true Hollywood treatment. Alan Rickman played … Alan Rickman. Helena Bonham Carter played … Helena Bonham Carter. The Borat guy was a treat, but his time onscreen was all too brief. Alan Rickman’s sidekick played the same kind of toady role he always plays, and we just saw him do the same thing in the infinitely better Enchanted. I REALLY would have enjoyed seeing some creative casting here, something really brave and against type. Adam Sandler as Todd? Why not? He pulled off Punch Drunk Love, didn’t he? Barb said she would’ve liked to have seen Matt Damon in the role. The film was just what one would expect, from start to finish. Nothing more, nothing less. Bleh. I was not engaged. At least we got 49 Up in the mail today.

  6. I want to be aquiver, too. So, I’m sharing that 49 Up has me in that very state. For those who don’t know, 49up is the latest installment of what has happened in the last seven years to some folks who were featured in 7Up when they were 7, 14up when they were 14, and so on….

    The idea that someone’s 7 years of life could fly by, for me, in about 10 months is just incredible. (I think it’s been about that long since I first saw 42 up). I re-watched it again yesterday so I could be the best possible voyeur. It will be easier to judge each cast member for their personal losses if I can better remember what their declared plans had been. I wish I had thought to get some popcorn for the occasion.

    I must say, however, that I think it’s very brave of people to “lifecast” in this way. Or, even to “blog” as the dales of the world do. I would be horrified if people could watch a barbara version of “39up” and take their own measurements of how far I have either “come” or “not come” in my personal life journey. What a question. What has the last seven years of your life brought?

    Anyway, all of this to say that tonight I will watch 49Up, and the part of me that is domesticated will delight in the ongoing successes of these brave people, while the sicker part of me worries that without a few personal losses the storyline might not be interesting…

  7. I haven’t had internet access since the event, but I do want to say what a truly, truly fun time it was. Definitely the highlight of my trip. I’ll get the photos where you guys can see them soon.

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