Puzzles: Alphabetics


Alphabets have long obsessed me. When I lived in Seattle I generated multiple drawings of small image-laden alphabets. Alphabet for Attorneys, Alphabet for Utopia, Our Summer-Alphabetically… If I had a problem to needed to invent a better paradigm I would begin with A, B, C… When I worked as an editorial cartoonist/artist for Seattle’s daily Seattle Post-Intelligencer my editor asked me to address the high level of hunger in Washington State. Out came the Alphabet for Abdomens.

Alphabetica emerged during summer 2016 during which I encountered a frightening election year in the USA, Leonard Shlains’ book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image, and, repeated requests from my puzzle customers for a “children’s puzzle.” Don’t quote me - I did not finish his tome before it was due back at the library - but basically Shlain proposes that alphabetic communication reconfigured human thought patterns and often, indirectly, correlated with increased inequities in literate cultures. Whoa! Puzzles for children often serve to educate and, in the USA, we espouse liberty, justice, freedom – possibly mercy, as well. But the bloody histories of humanity remind us that these values often serve as short hand for incredible suffering and struggle. I do not know what one animals says to the other before the kill but I wonder.

© Sarah Jane Lapp, 2019