The idea for this book came gradually, beginning with a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago, where one of the co-authors made an homonymous association between a sandwich condiment and the name of a renowned Early Impressionist painter. Working intermittently throughout the day, the co-author-to-be worked the association into a cohesive riddle. The final version—the result of the often tedious and repetitive nature of the writing process—was not well received by the co-author-to-be’s travel companion who was forced to listen to hours of word picking and rewording. Still, the little riddle was beloved by its author.
Upon returning home to Philadelphia from his Chicago trip, the co-author-to-be excitedly rushed to tell co-workers and friends about his discovery. He received a lukewarm response, excepting that of a local artist and co-author-to-be, who not only enjoyed the joke, but also quietly began to work on drafting his own riddle, which dealt with a trip to the supermarket and two Western Art-Music Composers, Chopin and Lizst. As the day-to-day routine of work responsibilities replaced the acute refreshment of a small vacation and the excitement of friends trading new ideas, the original riddles and any thoughts of a related project were temporarily put aside.
However, the little riddle would see new life and would eventually be joined by many others. What was it that saved the riddle and provided the new material for new ones? Like-minded friends whose support for one another helped them to become strong enough to take the same workaday tedium—that almost helped to bury an idea—and transform it into the conditions in which creativity could thrive. To help make menial work in the Philadelphia Museum of Art more tolerable to one co-author-to-be, he conceived, discussed, shaped and gave life to similar jokes through playful banter with his coworkers during breaks and downtime. Similarly, the other co-author-to-be relentlessly tested riddle ideas out on his dispirited co-workers. After such burnishing and romancing, the two co-authors-to-be shared with one another their polished—and sometimes not so polished—gems, which gave rise to excitement and the desire for more and more riddles with which to play. A true case of complex, multi-level irony, but also an optimistic note on the human spirit.
This somewhat circuitous process eventually resulted in a basic agreed upon framework, a simple conceptual apparatus that narrowed the scope of the project and provided guidelines for the selection of some riddles and the exclusion of others, such as, unfortunately, the Chopin/Lizst riddle mentioned above (maybe another project). To guide the project, the co-authors agreed on the parameters: “The Art Collector,” the Hoagie (Sub[marine], Hero, Grinder, etc.), and the fine artist. To be fair game, a riddle would have to incorporate each of these elements, with the Art Collector and Hoagie somehow worked into the question, and a “punch line” that would uncover an homonymous relationship between the situation set up in the question and the name of a fine artist from the Western Tradition. The two friends now had a bona fide project on which to work.
The now-co-authors Liam d’Noit and Kerry d’Noit hope you enjoy their efforts.