Welcome to the website of Pat Van Antwerpen
Bricoleur: “A person who constructs things by random messing around without following an explicit plan.” from They Have a Word for It, a Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases, by Howard Rheingold (1988, Sarabande Books.) My father would have loved this book. Read more . . .
My father loved books and he loved words. When I was young he carried in his breast pocket a tiny book, bound in tan calfskin. My mother does not remember this. I asked her once; she was willing to insist there’d never been such a book.
Whatever happened to those little books, for there were more than one, they didn’t make it to the winter of 2006, when he was ailing and I cleaned out his desk and his office, and sorted through with the top drawer of his dresser. What? How could he not have stored them away?
Etched in my memory, I see him leaning down for a kiss or to help with my homework, the thin line of tan calfskin peeping over his pocket, its weight pulling the shirt away from his chest. As much a part of him as the plastic protector and the line of pens in his other pocket, it seemed indispensable and normal. Didn’t every daddy keep a little notebook in his breast pocket?
Perhaps because I had become a voracious reader by the end of first grade he would urge me, “Never stop learning new words.” Once he reached into his pocket, slid out the book, opening it and flipping through it. Page after page in the tiny, meticulous printing of a humanities-loving engineer, he'd collected words and their definitions. “See, I try to learn a couple of new words every week.”
I’m wondering if he’d included the definition of bricoleur. For better or worse, that’s how I feel starting a website. I’m new to this, and awed by the complicated and interesting websites I’ve navigated while considering my goals for this one. It’s going to take some messing around. Thank you very much for peeking in. Please come again.