One of the raison d‘êtres for plunging into the Web’s vasty deep is the hope that an occasional surfer will chance by and (pushing the metaphor) 'hang ten' on what the author’s son called the Indus roar of Kadambari. This wonderful work of classical Sanskrit literature, crafted in prose by a court poet of unsurpassed skill in seventh-century India, waited nearly a century for a complete, idiomatic English translation. My rendition of Kadambari, published by Garland in 1991, was one of the best things I ever did, and it wants reading and studying for the literary masterpiece it is. This website provides that opportunity.
A second spur to engage the Web is what I am calling the 'Odyssey of an Invisible Man,' my dad’s biography. Max Boyd Layne lived as typical a life as any lower-class American male born in 1914, finding himself orphaned and riding the rails during the Depression, mining zinc and lead alongside Mutt Mantle (that would be Mickey’s dad) in Picher, Oklahoma, participating in World War II, walking the smoldering remains of Nagasaki, and, after two stints in Korea and acting as a courier in Vietnam, leaving the service for the life of a crafter of silver and turquoise jewelry and the teller of the tale of his life. He poured the story of his travels and travails onto some hundred hours of tape, and into the ear of me, his eldest daughter, a student and teacher of biography who knew a good story when she heard it. This site will provide on-going excerpts of Max’s life, as a way of sharing and of preserving it, pictures and all.
Besides the spun gold of Kadambari and the rough ore of Max, there is a page dedicated to 'Moonsong,' a play I wrote based on Kadambari, produced at the University of Chicago in 1990; and an item called Plagiarism which deals with the strange case of an early 'marquee' professor, A. Eustace Haydon, who had a Ph.D. student 'ghost-write' his best-known book (twice-published). I happened across the story of Margaret Alice Boell in an obit in my school’s alum magazine, engaged in e-correspondence with her family, and endeavored to find a publisher for one of the seamier examples of professors stealing from students, to no avail, not even from a journal called Plagiary. Go figure. Dr. Boell, this button’s for you.
Our 'alpha' and, very probably, 'omega' Sheltie, Livingston, waits for us at the Rainbow Bridge, but haunts the paths of our farm. He made a lot of friends, mostly in Chicago at the fabulous Nichols Dog Park. Thus, the encomium to Livy and his buddies.
Talented artists Virgil Burnett (Kadambari), Charles Banks Wilson ('Odyssey'), Alan Klehr (Livingston), and Carolyn Mears (the charcoal sketch of me), have given this site beauty, charm, wit, and visual interest. I am deeply indebted to each one of them for providing the occasional visitor with a reason to linger, if even for a moment, to enjoy the view. For those of you who pause to read a while, I hope that the various stories from my life and from my dad’s, if not so very interesting, are, at least told well—to borrow a phrase from Spalding Gray—and resonate with or give solace and encouragement to others cutting their own twisty path through life’s jungle.