The Devil’s Dictionary and Other Buried Treasures

My study had almost turned into a storage locker for files, books, magazines, rocks and turkey feathers. I have reclaimed it as my own personal roosting spot for writing, reading, fondling rocks and admiring wild turkey feathers. Oh yes, and listening to music, staring out the window and drinking strong, hot coffee (sometimes with cinnamon or cardamom).

My archeological dig of the past two days has uncovered misplaced photographs, cool postcards from Scotland I had forgotten about, scads of fiction stories torn from issues of The New Yorker and Harper's magazines stacked in a canvas Land's End bag, two sandalwood incense sticks, a dessicated cockroach, and some wonderful books that are either old favorites, or relative new ones in various stages of being read — and scribbled in, too — yes, I do that. I hope you won't think less of me. Oh! There's that missing library book. . .

One unearthed book in the "novelty" category is Ambrose Bierce's, The Devil's Dictionary.

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Here are several of my favorite Bierce "definitions:"

Debauchee: One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.

Piano: A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by depressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.


 

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