Now and then it would vanish for hours from the scene,
But alas, be discovered inside a tureen.
Edward Gorey’s books constitute a micro-genre unto themselves. They don’t belong to any preexisting category, and they contain their own subgenres. One of my favorite of these subgenres is the Crashing Creature story, which to my recollection consists of two works, “The Osbick Bird” and “The Doubtful Guest” (pictures and full text here). The first of these begins:
An osbick bird flew down and sat
On Emblus Fingby’s bowler hat.
It had not done so for a whim
But meant to come and live with him.
Similarly, the antihero of “The Doubtful Guest” appears unannounced one night. It has come to stay.
When they answered the bell on that wild winter night,
There was no one expected–and no one in sight.
Then they saw something standing on top of an urn,
Whose peculiar appearance gave them quite a turn.
All at once it leapt down and ran into the hall,
Where it chose to remain with its nose to the wall.
It was seemingly deaf to whatever they said,
So at last they stopped screaming, and went off to bed.
It joined them at breakfast and presently ate
All the syrup and toast and a part of a plate.
Through the middle of the story we hear of the Guest’s habits, none of them charming (with the possible exception of “peeling the soles of its white canvas shoes”). And the ending reveals that there is no end:
It came seventeen years ago, and to this day
It has shown no intention of going away.
Which is all by way of saying that I’m feeling a bit like the Doubtful Guest around the blog these days: moody, moochy, and mute. But all this is about to change. More blogging imminently. Doubtless.
UPDATE: I know what you’re wondering: any visuals on the Osbick Bird? The best pic I can find, (darkly) hilariously, is on a coffee mug that you can purchase for a measly $7 from the Funeral Consumers Alliance (scroll down). They also offer a Gashlycrumb Tinies mug and a Gorey refrigerator magnet reading “Matters of Life and Death Inside.” Can’t say they don’t have a sense of humor.