wgseligman: (Default)
In the past few years, modern pagans have started to reclaim their history. As Ronald Hutton points out, pagans have always had a strong sense of "history" (an interest in past events), but not always in "historicity" (understanding what actually happened, as opposed to what you wish had happened).

Hutton's Triumph of the Moon traces the factors that led to the founding of the modern Neopagan Witchcraft movement. Philip Heselton's Witchfather focused on the life of one important individual: Gerald Gardner. In other words, Hutton told us about the times, Heselton told us about a life.

Michael Lloyd's Bull of Heaven: The Mythic Life of Eddie Buczynski and the Rise of the New York Pagan does both.
wgseligman: (Celtic garb)
...on the biography.

I've exchanged a couple of e-mails with Michael Lloyd, author of Bull of Heaven. He was kind enough to share some of his process in approaching the biography.

As I read BoH and composed the e-mails to Lloyd, I had an insight: I need to find some narrative thread(s) to make the story of Isaac's life of compelling interest to people other than "Isaac Bonewits fans." I never heard of Eddie Buczynski before I learned of Lloyd's book. I only knew about Bull of Heaven when Margot Adler mentioned it to me, and I wanted to see how someone else handled a biography of a pagan figure. Now I'm anxious to continue reading the book because I've become invested in Buczynski's story.

I need to do something similar with Isaac's story. I've got a couple of ideas, but they need to percolate a bit more as I gather more facts.

I also wrapped up a series of interviews with Deborah Lipp. In theory, there's more I could ask her, but at some point I have to mark a particular research avenue as "done" and move on to the next thing.
wgseligman: (Celtic garb)
I spent most of this weekend working on Isaac's biography:

- I interviewed Stephen Abbott, an old friend of Isaac's from Berkeley.

- I sent out messages to a couple of other folks I want to want to interview, to (re-)establish a connection.

- I wrote to Michael Lloyd, author of Bull of Heaven, to ask another biographer how he approached the kinds of problems I've encountered. (Quick review: read this book. I'll have more to say in a later post.)

- I spent several (aching) hours coding more of Isaac's old documents. I've barely made a dent, but with enough visits eventually the bird's beak will wear down the mountain.

I can't give the project this kind of attention every weekend. It did show me that, with persistence, I can get this done.
wgseligman: (Celtic garb)
I recently picked up Playing at the World by Jon Peterson. This book is a history of the game Dungeon & Dragons.

Since many of my readers are Wiccan, I'll use an analogy that will make sense to them: Playing at the World does for D&D what Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon did for Wicca. It explores the different elements and influences that resulted in D&D, and follows the chain of influence forward as D&D affected the world around it. [1] [2]

Read more... )
wgseligman: (tuxedo)
It's been months since I last did any substantive research on the biography of Isaac Bonewits. Several week ago, my writing coach [livejournal.com profile] sabrinamari suggested that I write a blog post on how to "get my mojo back."

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Ren Faire)
I wasn't feeling well. I probably shouldn't have gone. But was I feeling a powerful case of cabin fever, and it was a chance to get another interview for the biography. So I went to Lunacon. this past Saturday.

I'm glad I did, though I paid for it the next day. To my pleasant surprise, it was better for me than last year. I interviewed Leslie Fish (though I forgot to ask her how good a singer Isaac really was); later I attended a filk sing for the first time in over 20 years.

I also did my usual share of gaming: Do Move Say (a great game for a large group of kids or kids-at-heart); Chez Geek (I was the second-best slacker); Munchkin Zombies.

And, as usual, I spent too much money on stuff.

One thing I noticed about this year's Lunacon is that the costuming was better than it had been in years. I don't know what brought about the reversal, but this year the costumers really "brought it" in terms of quality of both costumes and ideas. Brava and bravo! I may amend this post later with a few pictures.

Alas, no Werewolves of Miller's Hollow for me this year. I was feeling poorly at about 9PM, and I knew that if I tried to join that game I'd be there until at least midnight. Maybe next year!
wgseligman: (Ren Faire)
After many months of health challenges, I'm finally up to the point where I can think about working on Isaac's biography again.

The current challenge is the interviews. I've already blogged about the number of interviews I'd like to do. Another issue has come up: releases.

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Ren Faire)
As part of the research on Isaac Bonewits' biography, I'd hoped to be able to go to Pantheacon 2013.

Read more... )
wgseligman: (tuxedo)
I wanted to let some folks know: Right now, all my work on Isaac Bonewits' biography has stopped. I'm dealing with health issues. That has to be my "project" for now.

If you'd like to volunteer any memories, materials, thoughts, ideas, or contacts, I'll be glad to receive them. The best place to send them is the special e-mail address I set up: bonewits.research (at) gmail.com. But I can't promise any follow-ups, even to code the materials, until I'm better.

I had tentative plans to attend Pantheacon 2013 and Wellspring 2013 to speak to many who knew Isaac. I truly want to be well enough by then to make those trips. Right now, I don't know.

I ask for neither prayers nor healing energy. So many, far too many, of the people with whom I wish to speak have health issues of their own. Instead, I ask that you be healthy and well until that time comes when we can talk of Isaac -- and stay healthy and well for many years after!

I've already posted this as a Facebook status, so some of you may be seeing this twice. Please forgive the topic stutter.
wgseligman: (Default)
... for Isaac Bonewits' biography is done.

My thanks to Sabrina Mari for organizing and guiding the work, and attracting an awesome bunch of scanners: Michael Brown, Stephanie Thill, Maggie Stewart, and C. Ivy Palmer. You will be credited in the acknowledgements!
wgseligman: (Default)
My thanks! As I half suspected, the entry concerns people who might like to have these details kept private. I've therefore hidden the original post.

Now that you've given me the key, I'll have to work my way through 13 pages of the "encrypted" text. *Sigh* I knew this research would be tedious when I started it, but... c'mon, Isaac!


Apr. 22nd, 2012 11:36 am
wgseligman: (Default)
My work on the biography goes in cycles. In the past few weeks, I've mostly been on the low part of the cycle; I haven't done much.

My interview yesterday with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone invigorated my interest. After I spoke with them (and they're fascinating people; be on the lookout for their books and workshops) I spent the rest of the day coding.

Read more... )


Apr. 8th, 2012 09:37 am
wgseligman: (Default)
The past three days were interesting.

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Default)
A heart-warming, feel-good story about a poor-but-honest religious separatist named Anton LaVey who gets together with his friends to put on a show and save the local church. In a world where he's treated by scorn and derided by neighbors, he rises up against injustice and...

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Default)
I've spent almost this entire weekend working on the biography. And yet I did little or no actual research. It was all about soliciting interviews and organizing resources.

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Default)
Yesterday I had a second calendar party. [livejournal.com profile] sabrinamari and [livejournal.com profile] mage_imbroglio were able to make it. Here's what I learned:

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Default)
Wil Wheaton recently wrote a good blog post about self-publishing.

I don't plan to self-publish Isaac's biography. But Wheaton's post reminds me that I'll need a content editor, a copy editor, and a layout designer for the book. If a publisher does not offer those services, I probably should find a different one.

For those of you who thought they were off the hook: Sorry, but I'm still going to show the book to Isaac's widow, my writing coach, and other friends who can't run away fast enough. I'll want some input before I send it to publisher to be slashed by an editor's red pen.
wgseligman: (Default)
My Wiccan clan held its annual Bardic Circle last night, as it does every Imbloc. For those unfamiliar with the custom, in a Bardic Circle everyone is asked to offer some aspect of performance or creativity, in this case as an offering to Brigid in her aspect as Goddess of the Arts.

My offering was to read a description of the eclipse ritual at the Stonehenge replica in February 1979.

Read more... )
wgseligman: (Default)
Please RT, share, forward, and distribute this post on your social networks, especially any pagan mailing lists, message boards, forums, and the like.

I'm looking for people who were at the ritual at the Stonehenge replica near Maryhill WA on February 26, 1979, during the total solar eclipse. I'm trying to put together a description of everything that happened during the ceremony, as part of Isaac Bonewits' biography.

I already know that Tim Zell (now Oberon Zell-Ravenheart), Morning Glory Zell (now also Zell-Ravenheart), Selene Bonewits (now Selene Kumin Vega), and Isaac Bonewits were there leading the ritual, and that Margot Adler was there as well. I've asked them about it, or will do so when I interview them. I'm reaching out to other people who were there, to ask them what they remember of that time and place.

I'd be especially interested in any pictures you have of the ritual. There were plenty of photographs that appeared in the newspapers, but obtaining publication rights is difficult and expensive.

I can be reached at: bonewits.research of gmail.com

The URL of this post is http://wgseligman.livejournal.com/52290.html.


Jan. 17th, 2012 07:17 pm
wgseligman: (Default)
I recently had an insight connected with the biography: In order to give Isaac's actions or opinions some context, it would be a good idea to include some mention of historical events, especially ones related to religion or paganism. For example, in February 1979, the month in which the big eclipse ritual took place at the Stonehenge replica, Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran.

Read more... )


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William Seligman

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