wgseligman: (Celtic garb)
Mojo is mojo, but this is getting ridiculous.

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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]

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wgseligman: (Default)
I'm having trouble sleeping, so I might as well blog about my day's work on the biography.

I coded a few documents, but my primary task was to go over the folder of newspaper clippings Isaac had on the February 26, 1979 total eclipse of the sun. What made that eclipse special is its path intersected the location of the Stonehenge replica near Maryhill, Washington. A great gathering of pagans took place, to create a spiritual intersection at the same time as the astronomical one.

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Epiphany 2

Dec. 23rd, 2011 08:39 am
wgseligman: (Default)
I spent about an hour last night writing a long blog post about research techniques. Why did I bother?

At the time, I thought it was because I'm still processing all I learned, and it would help to set it down. Late last night, I realized that there was another reason:

Isaac would have loved this.

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wgseligman: (Default)
I've completed scanning Isaac Bonewits' calendars. I thought the process would take longer, but I followed the advice of [livejournal.com profile] sabrinamari: Put on some music on full blast when no one else is around, and the task will pass quickly. I should have known.

This does not remove the need for calendar parties. It means that they can go substantially faster: Just put the key stuff into the calendar. I'll have images of the calendars for the details.

This may also represent the last of the material I'll have to scan for the biography. Of course, these could be "famous last words"; tomorrow Phaedra Bonewits could call me with news that she found five more boxes of Isaac's papers.
wgseligman: (Default)
...and one step back.

Isaac Bonewits' big wall calendars take twice as long to scan as I thought they did. I thought an entire page could be scanned by my big scanner at once, but the images are chopped off at the top or bottom. I'll have to rescan those calendar pages in the flipped orientation so I have the entire image in my computer.

Isaac had the strong sense of personal history to keep all his old calendars, but not enough predictive power to get smaller ones for easier archival storage. Please, old friend, in the next lifetime buy smaller wall calendars.

(Of course, in his next lifetime all the calendars will be computerized, password-protected, and inaccessible to biographers. Isaac foresaw this issue, and printed out copies of his computer calendars. I don't how historians of the future will function when all the key information may be behind unbreakable encryption.)
wgseligman: (Default)
I had my first "calendar party" today. Its purpose was to get a group of people to start working through Isaac's calendars and enter the information in a common computer database. Isaac kept all of his calendars from 1973 through 2010; it's a wealth of information for any biographer.

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Time

Nov. 30th, 2011 01:48 am
wgseligman: (Default)
Deborah Lipp was kind enough to point me to a 1974 Tom Snyder interview with Isaac Bonewits, Ed Fitch, Fred Adams, and "Poke" Runyon. I've already tweeted about how young Isaac looks.

Then I came to later section of the interview. Tom Snyder asks about pagan beliefs in life after death. The other three agree with some notion of reincarnation. Isaac says:

"I do not have a personal belief in reincarnation or in survival after death, and that's not a required belief in the groups with which I work. I just say 'I don't know. I'll find out when the time comes.'"

Tom Snyder replies with a chuckle, "Won't we all."

And now Isaac knows. As does Fred Adams and Tom Snyder.

The crappiest thing about writing this biography is becoming aware of the heavy hand of time on those for whom I care and respect. Yes, the passage of time is natural and, as Tom Synder said, one day we'll all have an answer about existence after death. I still feel sad at the consequences of age and loss. I see a picture of someone young and vital; I talk with them when they're old or ill... or perhaps I cannot speak with them at all.
wgseligman: (Default)
I don't have an outline for Isaac Bonewits' biography yet. Since I don't know enough about Isaac's life, creating an outline now will predispose me to a particular narrative. First I learn about Isaac, then I'll decide how to tell his story.

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wgseligman: (Default)
I'm writing a biography of Isaac Bonewits (with the support of Phaedra Bonewits, Deborah Lipp, and Arthur Lipp-Bonewits). I continue to search for people who knew Isaac Bonewits. I know I've posted these requests before, but sometimes persistence pays off.

Please let me know if you know how to get in touch with any of the following people. If you can, please boost the signal, and/or copy this request to any appropriate mail groups and message boards. You don't have to ask my permission before forwarding or copying this post.

Ron Wright was an editor of Gnostica in the 1970s, and Isaac's immediate superior. Four years ago, Ron Wright was the head of Big Mountain Publishing in Montana. But that web site is now defunct, and he may have moved.

Robert C. Pennell wrote fantasy novels and songs with Isaac in (I think) the 1970s.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost are the organizers of the Church of Wicca, and were good friends of Isaac starting in the 70s.

Dana R Beard knew Isaac around 1977. She would be around 50 now.

Jennifer Edytha "Jeni" Carroll would be in her mid-40s now. She knew Isaac in the mid 1980s.

Edna Marie "Meghan" Probst would be in her mid-40s now. Again, she was in contact with Isaac in the mid 1980s.

I already know that some of these people are readily found on Facebook, but those that are have not responded to Facebook messages. I'm looking for a way to contact any of them directly. I can be reached at bonewits.research of gmail.com.

Thanks!

The URL of this post is http://wgseligman.livejournal.com/44129.html
wgseligman: (Default)
I continue to search for people who knew Isaac Bonewits. Please let me know if you know how to get in touch with any of the following people. If you can, please boost the signal, and/or copy this request to any appropriate mail groups and message boards. The URL of this post is http://wgseligman.livejournal.com/36467.html

Ron Wright was an editor of Gnostica in the 1970s, and Isaac's immediate superior. Four years ago, Ron Wright was the head of Big Mountain Publishing in Montana. But that web site is now defunct, and he may have moved.

Robert C. Pennell wrote fantasy novels and songs with Isaac in (I think) the 1970s.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost are the organizers of the Church of Wicca, and were good friends of Isaac starting in the 70s.

Dana R Beard knew Isaac around 1977. She would be around 50 now.

Jennifer Edytha "Jeni" Carroll would be in her mid-40s now. She knew Isaac in the mid 1980s.

Edna Marie "Meghan" Probst would be in her mid-40s now. Again, she was in contact with Isaac in the mid 1980s.

I already know that some of these people are readily found on Facebook, but those that are have not responded to my messages. I'm looking for a way to contact any of them directly.

Thanks!
wgseligman: (Default)
Given human nature and the nature of the pagan community, it was inevitable: One of the people I contacted in connection with Isaac's biography is having some financial difficulties. He didn't ask for a hand-out; instead he asked that I spread awareness of his services as a reader.

His name is Stephan Abbott. He knew Isaac 40 years ago; Isaac got him a job working at Gnostica, one of the influential publications of the pagan movement. I haven't interviewed Stephan yet, but I'm sure he's got lots of juicy Isaac stories.

Here are the links for Stephan's school of magic:
http://abbottsinn.com/ (click on the graphics to get to different portions of the site)
http://abbottsinninternational.com/

You can arrange readings from him via:
http://www.keen.com/memberpub/homepage.asp?user=stephen6580

Please spread the word, speak with Stephen, and learn what he can offer. I may not interview him for a while, so you may be able to get the cool stories before I do!
wgseligman: (Default)
In my research on Isaac's biography, I'm looking to get in touch with some people. Any help you can offer (including a signal boost) would be appreciated.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost are the founders of the Church of Wicca, and long-time friends of Isaac. I wrote to them at the address on their web site. They haven't responded yet; that site has not been updated since 2006. Does anyone have more recent contact information? Addendum: Once again, located via Facebook and message sent.

I'm still looking for Ron Wright, Robert Pennell, and confirmation on Robert Larsen. I sent Wright and Pennell messages via Facebook, but have yet to receive a reply.
wgseligman: (Default)
OK, Internet, let's see what you can do. If you know how to reach any of the people listed below, would you please send me contact information or arrange and introduction?

In connection with my work on the biography of Isaac Bonewits, I'd like to get in touch with Ron Wright. He was an editor of Gnostica in the 1970s, and Isaac's immediate superior. Carl Weschcke was kind enough to tell me that, four years ago, Ron Wright was the head of Big Mountain Publishing in Montana. But that web site is now defunct, and he may have moved. Addendum: He's on Facebook, but I don't know how often he checks his FB messages. If anyone has a more direct way to contact him, I'd like to know.

Can I get confirmation that Robert Larsen has passed away? He was Isaac's roommate at Berkeley, and introduced Isaac to organized druidry. I'd've loved to have interviewed him, not only to get an idea of what Isaac was like in the late 60s, but what Berkeley was like.

I'd also like to get in touch with Robert C. Pennell. He and Isaac wrote fantasy novels in (I think) the 1970s. They were never published, but I have a couple of the manuscripts. Aside from asking him questions about Isaac, I'd like to get permission to potentially quote a section of their work in the biography. Addendum: He's also on FB. Again, I don't know how often he checks his messages, so any more direct contact information would be appreciated.

I'm sure I'll have more requests, but let's see how these work out.

In case it's not clear: yes, please boost the signal!

PS: My thanks to Barbara Giacalone, whose superior detective skills helped locate Ron and Robert on FB.

A tidbit

May. 19th, 2011 02:12 pm
wgseligman: (Default)
Did you know that Isaac Bonewits was a member of ADF?

It's true!

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wgseligman: (Default)
After several months, and many long hours in front of a scanner, I've mostly completed copying Isaac's files. It was a huge pile of paper, about thirty large boxes; apparently he never threw away anything he'd written or received. (It's "mostly completed" because Phaedra still has some boxes of his unsorted papers in North Carolina.)

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wgseligman: (tuxedo)

My name is Bill Seligman. I am writing a biography on the life of Isaac Bonewits. I intend to tell the story of his life; how he influenced the Neopagan, Druid, and Wiccan communities; and to include a generous share of "Isaac stories." It will be a biography, not a hagiography; I don't think he'd want his image to be polished (nor tarnished!) from anything other than what it was.

 

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wgseligman: (Default)

...will be a description of my biography project. 

If you know me or you've been reading my blog posts, you've seen all this stuff already. I'm starting a new phase of the research: contacting and interviewing people who were important in Isaac's life. I want to be able to give them a link to a page that describes what I'm trying to do.

If you have any criticisms of that post ("Hey, Bill! Don't use the term 'warty ol' hag-witches!'") please comment using this post on LiveJournal so my potential interviewees don't read through old corrections. If you're reading it on Facebook, it doesn't matter; the links I'll send them will all point to the LiveJournal version.

I found it

Apr. 30th, 2011 08:59 pm
wgseligman: (Default)
There was something I'd expected to find in Isaac's papers.

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wgseligman: (tuxedo)
I've working on a biography of Isaac Bonewits.


As a writer, Isaac apparently never threw away any piece of paper with his own writing on it, nor any correspondence he received. I'm going through boxes of his files, scanning what I can, before shipping the files to the archives of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Some of the earliest papers in his files are the assignments he wrote in college in the late 1960s. In one of them (a creative writing class? I don't know) he decided to write a faux introduction to his own life's work:

"When one attempts to collect and edit the works of such a great and prodigious writer as Philip Emmons Bonewits one finds that he is faced with a monumental task."

To which the teacher wrote in the margin:

"Come on! Save it for your literary campaign."

And to which I say: Yeah, Isaac got another one right.

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William Seligman

March 2014

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