About

The rumor that I was born with Cecil Beaton’s THE GLASS OF FASHION in one hand, and a chromium-plated cocktail shaker in the other is quite untrue. Indeed, I was 11 before I even knew who Cecil Beaton was, and probably in my late 20’s before I came to appreciate what Mame Dennis described as “a Lucullan little Martini”.

However, I was talked to from the moment I was born, and when I was old enough to understand spoken language, my Parents began the tradition of the three of us reading together every night before bed. As a result, I’ve always been passionately enamored with words. (Mother was fond of telling the story of the lady in the post office in Ione who was astonished by the earnest little boy in the stroller who kept saying “machine, machine”.) I must also admit that I’m extremely fortunate, in that due my early exposure to books, I’ve been a voracious reader since the age of six. I’m quite certain this explains, at least in part, my being utterly fascinated by the way words can be used to create the most nuanced effects.

Of course, I’m hardly alone in a firm belief that reading is the perfect way to build an extensive vocabulary; indeed I cannot quite imagine how else one would manage to acquire this particular asset. (Mind you, I couldn’t spell my extensive vocabulary worth beans before the advent of spellcheck, but this fact I attribute to sheer laziness on my part.) Further, I contend that (perhaps paradoxically) it is primarily through extensive reading that one develops a writing style of one’s own.

(I once observed, as regards the great American designer Michael Taylor, that of course all artists steal good ideas when they see them; but what separates the great geniuses from mediocre hacks is the way they transform those ideas, and make them singularly their own.)

At any rate, my intention is to use this blog to prattle on about some of the things that intrigue and delight me: the history of design; my life-long fascination with the 1920s & 30s; the inspirations I derive from looking at beautiful things; and naturally, the joy I find in collecting and reading books, those treasured friends with whom I have had the greatest on-going ‘affair’ of my life.

A dear family friend, who was a Jungian scholar (and perhaps one of the most staggeringly intelligent men I have ever met), once paid me a great compliment, saying that while most people were either visual or verbal, I was both. And my Father (who was a clinical psychologist) always maintained that almost from the moment of birth, Baby Franklin craned his neck wanting to look at absolutely everything about him. (Indeed Daddy joked that if I had been an American Indian baby, my parents would have named me “Hungry Eye”.) I still retain that almost insatiably hungry eye, and I find that my powers of observation are invariably linked to an intense desire to connect the pictures to words.

Perhaps I’m a little behind the curve in posting a blog, but it is my sincere hope that my musings will also be found amusing, and that they will serve to convey my delight in a variety of subjects, to others of similar mind. However, unlike a good friend who maintains that he has “a little knowledge about a great many things” I can only claim to have a great deal of (mostly “useless”) knowledge about a very narrow piece of an even narrower spectrum.

I cordially invite you to share my delight, not only in words, but in those interests which continue to engage my eye and enliven my life in a diversity of ways.

In the immortal words of “Patrick Dennis”, I also beg you to remember: “Writing isn’t hard; no harder than ditch-digging”.

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