My Return...

It is late, and this post will be a little rough around the edges...

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
— William Blake

Europe was an amazing adventure, and I am apologize for the delay since my last post. Some time was needed to reflect, and decide what I am doing with my life. For the past couple of months I have been working on a project coding software, and doing literary research that will allow me to create a custom dictionary for William Blake’s Illuminated books in a kindle dictionary format. Similar to what the sight Fictionary.com is doing for fictional works. This project has required my full attention, and I set a milestone to reach before I could return to my photography.

While I was in Art School, I became infatuated with Blake’s work. The visual works were readily accessible to me, but much of his writing I found impenetrable. Working through some of the shorter more accessible works I began to understand pieces of his personal mythology. This is where I learned of his masterpiece Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion. At one point it was thought to be the writings of a madman, impossible to read comprehensively. The literary critic Northrop Frye in particular helped shed light on Blake's system behind his mythology. Now Jerusalem is often referred to as one of the most difficult literary texts in English language.

The difficulty of understanding Blake's mythology is characters have different forms. Sometimes they have physical forms, other times not. They merge and separate into masculine and feminine parts. They can also change back and forth between figures, and nations. There are multiple levels of existence. The images in the book often have little to do with the text, almost telling their own separate story instead of functioning as illustration. Time is non-linear, and characters appear without introduction as if intentionally demanding the reader's full attention. I have read it cover to cover and could not tell you what it is about. The feeling I have after reading Jerusalem is the feeling of waking after a dream with a sense of awe and wonder, but unable to remember anything about the dream. On some level I am determined to return from reading Jerusalem with pieces of Blake's dream.

I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
— William Blake - Jerusalem

In addition to the difficulties of Blake's mythology he often used grammar that has changed much in the last 200 years. Reading I feel as if my mind is a skipping stone just occasionally  touching the surface. To illustrate the difficulties for me the word NOT can also be a contraction of the word NAUGHT, AWFUL was understood to be full of awe, and DEEP was another name for hell to name a few. Samuel Johnson published a dictionary in 1755, there is no clean digital version available, and the ones that exist are not in kindle dictionary format. So no highlighting a word with the definition popping up on the screen with a single touch. Part of the reason it doesn't exist is that software is not available to produce an e-book it the special dictionary format.

So I wrote a dictionary compiler program myself. It is ugly, and clunky, but it works. I made a list of every word Blake used in his Illuminated works, and began editing the buggy electronic version of the Johnson dictionary. I am absolutely not going to transcribe all 15,000 words in Johnson’s dictionary, so I decided to make a list of every word used in Blake’s Illuminated works, and write definitions for only the words of interest. My prototype dictionary is on my Kindle right now, all the way up to and including the letter A. My final goal is to self-publish on Amazon. There is a lot of work to do still, but it works. My only rule right now is no going down any other rabbit holes until this project is finished. Now I for my reward I get to return to my photographs... 

Abandoned farm house in England's Lake District