MT VOID 08/23/02 (Vol. 21, Number 8)

MT VOID 08/23/02 (Vol. 21, Number 8)

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
08/23/02 -- Vol. 21, No. 8

Table of Contents

El Presidente: Mark Leeper, The Power Behind El Pres: Evelyn Leeper, Back issues at All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted. To subscribe, send mail to To unsubscribe, send mail to

Chesley Bonestell:

There is an article, with illustrations, about the space artist Chesley Bonestell in the online "American Heritage of Invention & Technology" at

The Art of the Frolic (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

One of the things I have been thinking about is that there are many activities that I have not yet participated in and I would hate to die without ever trying. I don't mean something like drugs, but there are experiences in this world that you only think in terms of someone else doing. You never give much thought to just doing them yourself. That is kind of a pity because some of them sound like they might be healthy exercise and enjoyable.

Anyway, let me get down to specifics. I am curious as to how one goes about the activity known as "frolicking." Now that is a verb I have just about never heard used in the first person. It sounds like a lot of fun, but people nearly always use it in the third person (or the third animal). Fishes frolic. Puff the Magic Dragon frolicked. Occasionally you hear of people having frolicked. But it is a verb you almost never hear used in the first person. And you almost never hear it in the present tense. Who is willing to even admit "I frolicked" much less "I frolic" or "I am frolicking." I suppose if you are currently frolicking there is rarely someone close enough that you would want to admit it to, so even if it is true you just would never verbalize it. Also I suppose it would be fairly obvious to someone, so you would be unlikely to have to tell them you are frolicking.

Most people, if they have any desire at all seem more to want to have frolicked rather than necessarily to actually frolic. They want it as an accomplishment on their own mental resume of their personal experience rather than actually to have the experience of being in the process of frolicking. But because it sounds like fun and I have the time I am wondering if I would like to try it.

Now this is not as easy as it seems. I do not think it comes naturally to just everybody. There are no good books out there on how to frolic. At least I find no helpful tutorial books on Amazon. It would be nice to find a copy of FROLICKING FOR DUMMIES or THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO FROLICKING. But let me assure you these books do not currently exist. I do not believe that there exists an Arthur Murray of frolicking. Frolicking is generally a self-taught talent.

If one is to start frolicking on one's own one has to find a proper season and location for a frolic. The time of year you choose to frolic is both unimportant and all-important. You can frolic any time of the year, but it adds a distinctly different flavor to your frolic if you choose to frolic amid the buds of spring, in the richness of summer, on the fallen leaves of autumn, or in the bracing snows of winter. In each case the frolic will have a distinctly different meaning, I am sure, though the exact meaning of any of them probably eludes me.

Frolicking indoors seems somehow unnatural. Like skiing or parachuting you may study up indoors, but even the first time you try it, if it is indoors you are probably doomed to failure. So you need to find someplace out of doors. But you also have to get away from people. You have to be free from prying eyes. It is almost inevitable that the first five minutes or so you will be embarrassed just seeing yourself frolic. But that embarrassment will be infinitely compounded if someone else sees you frolicking, and even more so if it is someone you know, more still if it is someone you work for or intend to marry. Indeed, I think just looking down and seeing yourself frolic may be a serious mistake that could cause you to lose any desire to frolic. I suppose your shape and your body image could be only too relevant.

In any case the moment will arise when you have to take your preliminary steps into the frolic and you will inevitably ask yourself what do you should do first. There is no easy answer to this question. In fact I am not entirely sure there is any answer, easy or not. Perhaps you are the type to look in the dictionary to see what they consider a frolic. This yields an answer, but it is one that is not particularly satisfying. They will suggest that to frolic is to romp. Now there are some out there who might question if I am not already too old to frolic. Others may say that one is never too old to frolic. However, I seriously doubt if anyone could look at me and suggest that I am still in an age range when I could romp. I am afraid that the days when romping was an option for me are long gone. I would still like to believe that I retain some of the days when frolicking is an option. There are heavy distinctions between romping and frolicking. So to me that is not particularly helpful. I do not think that old Webster fully appreciated the differences between a romp and a frolic or he would have never made that error.

But what to do? Somehow I think that I have a mental image of what it might be like to frolic. I think that Charles Schulz illustrated well with Snoopy in his Peanuts cartoons. I think that if I could do an "It's Almost Dinnertime" sort of dance, I could modify it into being my own frolic. But there is a big difference between knowing what it looks like to frolic well and to able to do it oneself with sufficient grace that it does not look like a spasm of some sort.

So it is the art of the graceful frolic that I am now seeking. I do not expect the quest to be easy, but what serious and important artistic quest is? [-mrl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

            People are always ready to admit a man's ability 
            after he gets there.
                                          -- Bob Edwards

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