Better late than never

Professionally published at last!

The timing was almost perfect. After about a three month wait, the Globe and Mail published my review of Gregory Maguire's latest novel set in the wonderful world of Oz, A Lion Among Men (I'll be posting it here anon, but figure that since the Globe paid for the piece, they should have exclusive access to it for a while). At the same time, this website was ready to go live on Saturday as well — or so I thought.

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What Is an "Edifice Rex"?

Why an "edifice"? Why "online"?

A brief note on the history of names

January 26, 2009

I'm not a full-time punster, but sometimes cheap word-play gives me a great deal of pleasure.

Edifice Rex doesn't "mean" anything. Rather, the name descends from my early experiments in publishing.

Back in the early 1980s, when I was in high-school, I edited and "published", via a friend's father's office photo-copier, an arts magazine we called The House of the Dying Tree — don't ask what (if anything) that meant, either; it's too long ago.

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Sorta Fact

"Sorta fact"?

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone. "It means just what I choose it to mean — neither more or less."

— Lewis Carrol (1832 - 1898)

Geoffrey Dow, circa 2005

The kid was a friend of my younger brother's, which means he was a couple of years younger than I. Yet I found myself atop him, holding him down and shouting, "You lie! You lie! You lie!"

And it's true, Sylvain lied constantly, about matters trivial and important — he lied so consistently that I now I wonder if he even understood the difference between truth and falsehood, reality and fantasy.

The precise nature of the lie that set me off is now lost to me, but I still understand my young self's rage; that truth matters is something I have implicitly believed from a very young age. At times I have surprised people because I will (more or less) happily stop an argument or discussion with those too-rare words, "I was wrong."

It has taken me decades to understand on a gut-level that those three simple words are not easy for most people to say[1], that in an action I find relatively easy others see some kind of humiliation or, at least, a substantial loss of face.

My first conscious lesson in that difference between myself and many others came during my late teens or very early 20s, in conversation with a friend with whom I had shared a very unusual relationship.

We'd met on the first day of Grade seven, when we had both expressed interest in joining (starting? Memory is a hazy affair at the best of times) a chess club. We quickly learned we had a lot more in common than just chess and we soon became fast friends, revelling in intellectual confrontation. He was a Christian, I an atheist; he was a Liberal, I a Socialist. And we argued about it all, enthusiastically and, sometimes, to the point where debate degenerated to fighting.

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