I count John Robert Colombo and his wife Ruth Colombo as friends, which surely colours my readings of their books. JRC has worked very hard, all his life, doing service to Canadian literature before many people thought it worth the trouble.
For his enormous output in the way of ghost stories, joke collections, mystery books, poems, criticism, research, essays and articles, he has been appointed to the Order of Canada. He has compiled large collections of Canadian quotations, earning his place as Canada’s Master Gatherer.
In this latest publication, John quotes himself. The man knows a LOT of words and he loves to play with them, sometimes to my amusement, sometimes to my bewilderment. His “aphoristic expressions” encapsulate opinions, observations, musings and feelings about everything from Abilities to Zombies, organized alphabetically, of course.
At the end of the book, he includes brief, personal comments on People I Have Known. Not all are flattering. I recognize many of the names instantly, others vaguely and many not at all. Whether I know the person or not, the descriptions are interesting and often surprising.
Here’s one that made me smile:
He made a mistake once, on January 16, 1961, as I now recall, his former wife Judith Merril once told me.
I wondered at this one, “What was the topic and who was the other one?”
One of the two people who angered me so much on the phone that I hung up on him.
Leonard Cohen may be the most famous name in the long list, but there are many more you would recognize; mostly writers and artists.
Uncommomplaces: Aphorisms of John Robert Colombo is newly published as a paperback but is also available as a Kindle ebook.