As I talked about in my first article, to even locate the illustrious Mr Dumphy takes a great deal of patience and perseverance. As I recall our first email encounter did not go well. ‘I’m 87 years old, go annoy someone else’, or words to that effect.
Unfortunately this was just the kind of response that gets my ears perked up. This was clearly a feisty character who would be more fun to deal with than a sack full of rattlesnakes suffering from PMS!
Of course I am well acquainted with the sack full of PMS challenged rattle snakes problem, I am married! I have a PhD in the subject!
I was not going to lose a battle with this man. He may be 87 years old, but he is as sharp as a scalpel. This was a guy that was going to slice and dice you if you made a wrong step.
I received a delightful email from Adam Dumphy as a result of my first article.:
Genesis of the “Writing Should Be Fun Society”.
It all began with Shakespeare in first year high school. Not Shakespeare in high school, me in high school. I don’t think Shakespeare went to high school. In fact from what I read he may not have been able to read or write at all. In other words Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare. He was just the dummy of a ventriloquist act. Someone else wrote it and used old Bill as a pen name.
At any rate one less than halcyon day I asked Mrs. Schoonover what was so good about Shakespeare as I couldn’t understand most of his words and his characters were not exactly leading citizens. That was the first time I saw that cold eyed, glassy glare and she responded with a D on a composition that Guy Gilpatric would have been proud of. I noticed she did not try to answer just glared. Maybe she didn’t know who Guy Gilpatric was, something that no English teacher could never admit.
At least that was the start of my descent into the depths of rebelhood.
The degree of my descent only slowly increased through the Navy where no one had ever heard of old Bill since he didn’t write the Naval Officer’s Manual. It apogeed frequently through college and climbed steadily through Med school.
An established rebel by then I had the temerity to always ask, “Why”. The answer was “There are four theories about that.” which immediately put me off as theories are by definition just theories and if there were four, three were necessarily wrong so why must I learn wrong theories?
Such adverse thinking was an anathema at Stanford as one was expected to genuflect once when hearing the words of a professor and twice for a Department Head.
It also offended me that anyone could know all about anything especially a subject as complex as the human body. And I noticed that increasing tenure (along with the increasing cerebral sclerosis) made a semigod more certain of his godship and his opinions. In practice when my conscience would allow me to read only medical journals.
Rebellion continued an upward spiral as I read monthly of new breakthroughs that had a life of about two years until proven only partly true or outright false.
Finally relieved of medical reading by retiring for my health I looked about for something to occupy my time. I found the current writing consisted of violence, horror and sex written in TV English. One writer had the erudite W. Churchill saying “No problem.” Even descending to the lowermost level of the Pubic (sic) Library I found the more pleasant literature absent, discarded.
If the current writers had ever actually seen a murder scene he/she would not make it the corner stone of one novel after another. (My own introduction was when an irritable husband explained things permanently to his wife with a double barrel shotgun and then I found him in his Psycho cell hanging by his belt.)
My own wife did not want me to write as it took time away from the family. And she was right. Several years after becoming a widower I finally realized that was no longer true and started to write down all the stories that had been accumulating in my mind over the years. I did not expect best sellers. (“A best seller is a temple of mediocrity”, Logan Pearsoll Smith.) I just wanted to get down in some printed
form the thoughts I had and did not bother about minor details like punctuation. I therefore offended all in three writing courses, including five writing instructors and I am sure many readers. But along with Popeye “I am what I am and that’s all what I am”.
They say a writer puts a big bit of himself into his story. If so I would not want to walk down a dark alley with most of them. And is it great to put a sad or violent idea into a reader’s mind or into the mind of some violent character who is a wannabe criminal?
So proper writing should elevate, amuse or inform. To produce this a writer must have something pleasant in mind. For this writing should be fun.
So developed the Society. (I do not as yet have many members) Care to be the second?
This was in someways was like a scene out of ’84 Charing Cross Road’, clearly Adam Dumphy and I are kindred spirits. Although I have long since forgiven William Shakespeare there was a period of time during my teenage years where he ranked highly on my top ten list of most evil people in history. I think what rankled me most was that it was OK for Bill S to butcher the English language in any way he wished and get praise heaped on him by English Lit teachers, it was a whole different story if a high school student pulled a Bill S in an essay!
More on Adam Dumphy soon!Â If you can’t wait to read more of this irascible and delightful curmudgeon, his latest book is A Casebook Of Curious Cases. It is available at better book stores everywhere, or online via Amazon. He thinks that Twitter is for twits, Facebook is the term that people use when you smack someone with a large text book, and the World Wide Web is an Arachnid problem. So do not look for him online right now. He is without doubt my hero!