A philosopher, Brand Blanshard, introduced us. I had launched Anecdotal Evidence less than two weeks earlier, when someone soothingly named Dave Lull wrote to say he had stumbled on my blog by way of something I had posted about Blanshard’s On Philosophical Style. To quote Dave quoting the philosopher:
“In a letter written in 1980 Professor Blanshard wrote:
“`Most writing nowadays is exceedingly shuffling, muddled, and ponderous. If one wants to avoid such writing, the best aid is H.W. Fowler's Modern English Usage. It not only tells you what to do and not to do, but is so admirably written itself that just to read it gives you a literary tune-up.’"
This is typical of our exchanges – quotes within quotes, books dragging other books behind them like prehensile tails. As I once wrote with Dave in mind: “Every book is linked inevitably to every other book in a vast Borgesian weave of overt and occult connections.” Dave is among the weavers.
I still get the question: “Who is this Dave Lull guy?” As Pascal said of God (no blasphemy intended) Dave is the circle whose center is everywhere in the blogosphere and whose circumference is nowhere. He is a blogless unmoved mover. He is the lubricant that greases the machinery of half the online universe worth reading. He is copy editor, auxiliary conscience and friend. He is, in short, the OWL – Omnipresent Wisconsin Librarian.
Happy birthday, Dave. You’re the gift.