I nearly forgot, while writing about the origins of my first two plays (here and here with the history of my personal religious odyssey not arbitrarily in between), that the actual reason behind that narration/reminiscing was to explain the how I came up with Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd., S.A.
Probably it is obvious to you, my insightful and intelligent readers, but I need a post for today, so hereʼs the story.
My first play was Speak No Evil, and a continual bit/gag in that show was the less informed individuals calling the chimpanzee a monkey. Yes, the second word in the corporate name is a reference to that first play.
And of course the initial “Magickal” part is a direct allusion to the title of my second play. Combine the two and you end up with a “magickal monkey,” which (oh, so cleverly) is just what a human being is. Right?
I wasnʼt just being preciously clever, although I did please myself mightily with the name. The phrase held lots of meaning for me, not just as reminder of those first two plays, but of what I truly felt I wanted to (and hopefully had already) written about. We are each a magickal monkey.
Evolution has led primates into a realm of intelligence and culture that all the other animals do not and (probably) cannot grasp. And intelligence is leading us still into wilder and stranger realities than possible for our first toolmaking ancestors in Africa millions of years back or wandering out of that continent to populate the rest of the globe just less than a thousand thousand years ago (can you calculate that one, unBritish numericists?) or even those first farmers settling down to forge civilization (or maybe/probably the “cities” — if population centers smaller than Andrew really should be called cities, archaeologists — came first and then agriculture) somewhat more than ten thousand years ago or even for us today. And the reference to scientific prehistory/biology is perfectly appropriate for themes from both plays (at least in contradiction to the fundamentalist reactionaries trying to impose an imaginary, however much desired fantasy on the actual world — like the equally fundamentalist falsifiers plotting against the United States and Western world these days). The plays exhibited and promoted the heroically magickal monkeys who seek genuine reality and grow the inconceivable future.
The corporate title first arose in the early Eighties, about the same time that Andrew Comment was getting started at then-principal David Bradleyʼs instigation, when in nostalgia for the annual Creative Writing Anthologies of my youth at Mt. Pleasant Community High School, I decided that the creative writing class I was still teaching in those days at Andrew should expand beyond the journalism I had desperately turned that course into— producing the Hallway Transcript, later A.H.S. Express, mimeographed and ultimately xeroxed weekly school “newspaper” — to at least publish Andrew studentsʼ creative writing. (Later, when I took over American Literature/Advanced Composition, the junior college-prep English course, creative writing went to Lori Wohlgamuth.)
So we collected writing — poetry, essays and stories — from all the grades — elementary and secondary —, labored intensively (along with students in business department typing classes, which we still taught in those pre-keyboarding days) to put these jewels of student imagination and effort all into typed form, and then on the schoolʼs brand-new copier-machine, as we called it then, copied the many, many pages we had accepted (I have always had a hard time rejecting anything or anyone), and — the first year — folded the full sheets and bound them into 4 x 6ʺ booklets with a large stapler, thus creating the first Andrew Anthology.
I vividly recall the long evenings after school with two students (Maureen née Bayles and Rod Hankemeier) creating the booklets. And in the process learning the tricks of the publish-by-copier trade (like how to double-side pages in those primitive times before the copier knew how to do that task itself — so much like double-siding with a printer nowadays, at least with the level of printers I have been able to afford). That double-siding was especially tricky because our booklet involved folding full-sized 8½ x 11ʺ typing paper in half to create an octodecimo-sized booklet, so we also had to calculate the entire bookʼs layout to know which pages backed on which other pages as folded and inserted into the book.
The first yearʼs Anthology was bound in yellow covers with an elegant drawing of a hand writing with a pen on the front. In creating a copyright page, I had the book copyrighted by Andrew Community School, printed by Magickal Monkey Press, since I believe that was the spring after Magickʼs premiere — the same school year. The second and final edition, created in the same laborious fashion in 1984, went to 8½ x 11ʺ pages to simplify the layout and assembly, and we let the Area Education Agency print and bind the books (with those really rather worthless plastic loop bindings). It had a red cover featuring the same hand-and-pen graphic. (I had intended to illustrate this post with scans of those books, since last June I had rescued a copy of each when I pitched everything else that had remained accumulated from all my years at AHS, but I donʼt know at this moment where I put them…)
When I wrote my third play (and probably for intermediate spring plays earlier), I copyrighted that script as Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd. (limited, of course, as in todayʼs Limited Liability Corporation — LLC), and sometime in the late Eighties or early Nineties I encountered the French/European corporate abbreviation S.A. (for Société anonyme and various other languagesʼ indication of an Anonymous Association or limited corporation), the suave European coolth of which appealed to my uncultivated sensibilities. About that same time, experimenting with an art program (rasterized drawing software, probably FreeHand, at that time still a living graphics software program not yet acquired by Adobe) and digital clip art, I came up with my black-and-white corporate logo — vastly impressing myself by hand-creating the “star-eye” emanating from the clip-art chimpanzeeʼs eye. (Play — as in childish goofing/fantasizing — really is an important part of my reality.)
For some imaginary fun, the corporation has been a longtime mental companion.
Everything since, even this quite public blog, has remained copyright property of me and my corporate self.