But—it was the right topic, at the right time, with the right teacher. This class was to become an unexpected major tributary to the flow of ideas that make my intellectual life.
Gordon Turnbull (Australian, accented, florid in his incantatory recitations, and, above all, impassioned with his subject) wooed the four of us in that class—undersubscribed, of course, because I wasn't the only one who mistook the subject for boring—with every wile he had in him. And, that, for whatever complications of reasons, was the inlet I needed.
Ten years and three degrees in Literary Biography later, I fell out of academics with my own passion for the complexities of rendering a human life as a story. How to make that interesting? How to make that interesting when one's subject is an artist or the main character of a novel? Every human story faces the same end, and many human stories face decline and retirement at their end. These fascinations/challenges have never left me.
When Covid began, my household became a crowded one. I don't work well in those circumstances. I needed a project I could keep going through every sort of interruption.
I was already aware that Wikipedia was weak on visual artists of the 20th century: copyright laws make it difficult to develop articles with interesting (or even relevant!) visual references. Yet copyright law seems to be a hindrance not at all to the stories of the dead Picassos and the living Stellas of the last hundred years. Where there's a passionate fanbase, the articles appear. But then--I had, for whatever reason, been thinking of Josef Albers's webpage.
If you don't know who Albers is, it's not surprising. He may well be one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century, but looking at his Wikapedia page circa March, 2019, you would never have known. Albers's most passionate acolytes are of a, shall I say, largely computer awkward generation.
Josef Albers (/ˈælbərz, ˈɑːl-/; German: [ˈalbɐs]; March 19, 1888 – March 25, 1976) was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of modern art education programs of the twentieth century.
Wikipedia Introduction, March 2019
Well--about two years of work later, the Albers Wikipedia page is looking respectable. That introductino now reads:
Josef Albers (/ˈælbərz, ˈɑːl-/; German: [ˈalbɐs]; March 19, 1888 – March 25, 1976) was a German-born artist and educator. The first living artist to be given solo shows at the MoMa  and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, he taught at Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, headed Yale University's Department of Design, and is considered one of the most influential teachers of the visual arts in the twentieth century.
As an artist, Albers worked in numerous disciplines, including photography, typography, murals and printmaking. He is best known for his work as an abstract painter and a theorist. His book Interaction of Color was published in 1963.
Looking at (and reading) that page, it is the work of many hands, and sits now at the center of a sizeable and growing constellation: Josef Albers and his influence on art of the 20th century.
All this... it's by way of introduction.
I did another piece, recently. It set something going in my head, and I found I needed to share. The piece I did most recently was a stub. But I could see, somehow, the shape of what lay beneath that stub, and I knew that there was a story there that I wanted to dig out.
I did, and there was. And, yes, it's something interesting enough for its own entry here.