Prospice: Looking forward; looking back

Suzie Eisfelder

In trying to decide what to write about tonight I lit on The Bedside Milligan by Spike Milligan. But he is problematic, as better writers than I have written many more words about him. You can see two books on this link and I’d not want to add more words to this mix. I then contemplated a handful of ideas I had some years ago. I’m fond of lists and have completed various A-Zs of authors in this blog. Maybe I could start the A-Z of editors and highlight some anthologies they’ve put together. Or even put together a series of questions and email them to editors to find out why they create anthologies. All good ideas, but not tonight.

Instead the word Prospice jumped into the front of my mind. Really, not sure why, brains are odd. It could be because my old high school is having various reunions and my year should be coming up soon. Will I go? Will I find something else more important? I’ve no idea, I can’t read the future.

But the reason the word Prospice is important to me has nothing to do with Robert Browning. I understand he wrote a poem called Prospice and it’s rather famous. I’ve not studied it and studying poetry is not really my skill so I’ve cheated by looking online. It’s apparantly about looking forward. In this case it’s looking forward to death. Why? Because then he will be able to join his beloved.

Back at high school I was told that Prospice was a Latin word and that it meant to look forward and back. If you look at this link, you’ll see a number of images of magazines. The one from 1978 has the profile of a face looking forward on the front and the back has the profile of a face looking back. I don’t need to look into the magazine to know this because I remember from our discussion at the time. You see, I was on the committee for the magazine for all four years I was at high school. My love for joining editorial committees started a long time ago. My love for anthologies predates that, but I can’t pin down anything specific. Maybe if I dusted my books I’d get some ideas, but again, not tonight. If you look at the cover for 1976 you’ll be able to see the names of every student at the school at the date it was written. I loved that so much I repeated the process at my next school. It’s probably the artwork I’m most proud of. I did that in the school library so I’d have someone there to keep my focussed.

Tonight I’m going to leave you with the few words I’ve scribbled here. I’ve not said much, but I’ve thought lots and wandered back in my history. I really enjoyed being on that committee.

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