I am a frequent visitor to The Toolemera Press and The Toolemera Blog. Gary does a wonderful job of sharing his library of rare books on woodworking, tools and related ephemera. I have learend a lot about tools from reading the PDF files he offers for free download.
I thought of Gary as I dug through a box of stuff and found my copy of “At-A-Glance Illustrated Self Instructor For Jew’s Harp With Hillbilly Songs,” circa 1932.
This is an old and perhaps somewhat rare book on a fairly esoteric subject. There is a difference between this book and the rare books on esoteric subjects that Gary shares.
This book is pretty much useless to anyone who would like to play the Jew’s Harp!
No author is listed; not a good sign. The book basically tells you to put the thing in your mouth and have a great time going boing, boing boing. Popularity and fame will surely follow.
But hey, it’s history, the graphics are cool and it is a reminder that shlock media is nothing new.
I have scanned the entire instructional section and the first song in the tune section of the book. The other several pages I have not scanned are more songs in the same format. If you really want to see them let me know.
As I recover from gallbladder surgery the most frustrating thing is not being able to work in my shop for a week. I feel pretty darn good but I’m not supposed to lift anything over ten pounds, push a plane, etc. Probably not a good idea to go to the sawmill and sort through lumber either.
Nor would it be a good time to learn to play dulcimer while riding a unicycle.
I’m taking the time to design a new instrument or two and find myself exploring the wealth of old information available via new technology.
Here’ a fun one. Books of this type were given to young people (well, probably young men keeping the time of history in mind) to help them learn about the various professions they could pursue.
So take a gander and see if you think you are more cut-out to be an architect, a shipwright, a clergyman, a tanner, a mason….
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
The more you struggle to live, the less you live. Give up the notion that you must be sure of what you are doing. Instead, surrender to what is real within you, for that alone is sure. You are above everything distressing.