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2010-07-19 12:44:09 (UTC)

Introduction to My Memoirs

PIONEERING OVER FOUR EPOCHS: An Autobiographical Study and a
Study in Autobiography

This is the 7TH EDITION by Ron Price

TABLE OF CONTENTS
VOLUME 1:

PREFACES Six Prefaces to Six Editions

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Chapter 2 Introduction 2

Chapter 3 Letters

Chapter 4 Diary/Journal/Notebooks

Chapter 5 Interviews

Chapter 6 A Life in Photographs

VOLUME 2:

PRE-PIONEERING

Chapter 1 Ten Year Crusade Years: 1953-1963

Chapter 2 Pre-Youth Days: 1956-1959

Chapter 3 Pre-Pioneering Days: 1959-1962

VOLUME 3:

HOMEFRONT PIONEERING

Chapter 1 Pioneering:
Homefront 1: 1962-1964

Chapter 2 Pioneering:
Homefront 2: 1965-1967

Chapter 3 Pioneering
Homefront 3: 1967-1968

Chapter 4 Pioneering
Homefront 4: 1968-1971

VOLUME 4:

INTERNATIONAL PIONEERING

Chapter 1 International
Pioneering 1:1971-1973

Chapter 2 International
Pioneering 2: 1973-1974

Chapter 3 International
Pioneering 3: 1974-1978

Chapter 4 International
Pioneering 4: 1978-1982

Chapter 5 International
Pioneering 5: 1982-1988

Chapter 6 International
Pioneering 6: 1988-1996

Chapter 7 International
Pioneering 7: 1996-2015

Chapter 8 Epilogue

VOLUME 5:

COMMENTARIES, ESSAYS AND POEMS

Chapter 1 Credo, Poems and Resumes

Chapter 2 Pioneering An Overview

Chapter 3 Anecdote and Autobiography

Chapter 4 Autobiography as Symbolic
Representation

Chapter 5 Essays on Autobiography

Chapter 6 A Study of Community and
Biography

Chapter 7 About Poetry

Chapter 8 Social Topics of Relevance

Chapter 9 Praise and Gratitude
___________________________________________________________________

SECTION I :
Pre-Pioneering

SECTION II :
Homefront Pioneering

SECTION III :
International Pioneering

The material below is found in other locations and, although not included in this autobiography, it could be useful for future autobiographical, biographical and historical work.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
SECTION IV Characters/Biographies: 24 short sketches
SECTION V Published Work:Essays-300-Volumes 1 to 4—1982-2013
SECTION VI Unpublished Work: Essays-Volumes 1 & 2---170 essays

.......................1979-2015

Novels-Volumes 1 to 3---12 attempts

......................1983-2003

SECTION VII Letters : Volumes 1 to 25 :3000
Letters : 1960-2015
Volumes 26 to 50:2000
Internet : Email Postings :2001-15

SECTION VIII Poetry : Booklets 1-75 : 7000 poems
1980-2015
SECTION IX Notebooks : 300 Notebooks : 1962-2015

SECTION X.1 Photographs : 12 files,folios
and booklets : 1908-2015

SECTION X.2 Journals : Volumes 1 to 6..: 1844-2015

SECTION XI Memorabilia: : 1908-2015

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to the Universal House of Justice in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary in April 2013 of its first election in April 1963 and to Alfred J. Cornfield, my grandfather, whose autobiography was an inspiration to the one found here.

Caveats:

1. The document below is a necessary abridgment of a narrative work of 2600 pages; it has been truncated first to fit into the small space for this document at Bahai Library Online, and then at other places in cyberspace. This document is both an outline and a curtailment of an epic-opus, an abbreviated, a compressed, a boiled down, a potted, a shorn, a mown, a more compact version of my larger epic-work. This abridgment of the 7th edition of my autobiography will include changes in the months and years ahead in how many years the Good Lord has destined that my lifespan continues.

When a significant number of changes are made an 8th edition will be brought out. It is my hope, although I cannot guarantee, that this brief exposure to my autobiography will give readers a taste, a desire, for more.

2. The inclusion of quotation marks, apostrophes and accents has often proved difficult as have the addition of footnotes. Hopefully this will be remedied at a later date.
___________________________________________________________________
PREFACE TO THIS SEVENTH EDITION:
____________________________________________________________________

Section 1:

A 2600 page, five volume narrative, a 300 page study of the poetry of Roger White, the major Bahai; poet of that half-century; 6600 prose-poems, 120 pages of personal interviews, 400 essays; 5000 letters, emails and interent posts; 300 notebooks, six volumes of diaries or journals, 12 volumes of photographs and memorabilia, a dozen attempts at a novel, indeed, an epic-opus of material has been integrated into an analysis of my religion, my times and my life. This variety of genres aims at embellishing and deepening my own experience and that of readers. Only a very small portion of this epic work is found here, a portion that readers can dip into anywhere.

This document here at this online diary requires some editing which I hope to do in the years ahead. This is the autobiography of an ordinary Bahai, perhaps the most extensive one to date. This epic-opus illustrates what hardly needs illustrating these days, namely, that you dont have to be a celebrity or a person of some fame or renown to have a biography or autobiography. This literary genre is now so popular that men and women of little interest and significance feel impelled to record their life-stories. In the wide-wide world my life is clearly is this category.

The Bahá'í Faith provides, it seems to me, a nice balance between the importance of community and the necessity for that community not to stifle the voice of its members. This is not an easy balance to strike but in the decades ahead the world will find that this Faith is one of the organizations, perhaps the critical one, which provides the mix of freedom and authority, unity and diversity, without which planetary survival will be difficult if not impossible.

The autobiographies and the biographies in the Bahai community that have come into Bahai bookshops since the Kingdom of God had its inception in 1953 with the completion of the Bahai temple in Chicago are, for the most part, about individuals of some significance in the Bahai system of social status or stratification like Hands of the Cause Furutan, George Townshend & Martha Root.Extant autobiographies and biographies have been written about or by individuals with some special, publicly recognized, talent or experience like: Andre Brugiroux who hitch-hiked around the planet; Dizzy Gillespie or Marvin Holladay both of whom had a special musical talent and fame; Louis Bourgeois or Roger White, men of great artistic or literary
talent; Angus Cowan or Marion Jack two of the 20th century's great teachers.

Section 2:

There are now hundreds of short & often moving biographical and autobiographical pieces by or about quite ordinary people with simple stories of their lives and their often significant contributions to the work of this Cause. Such accounts can be found in the many volumes of Bahai World and other books like Claire Vreelands And the Trees Clapped Their Hands. If, as Shakespeare suggests in his play
Hamlet, “bevity is the soul of wit,” there is a potential for much wit in much Baha’i biography. Sadly there may be little here in this work if one follows the same reasoning. But if, as Walter Pater emphasizes in his essay on style, the greatness of a work lies in its content, perhaps there is hope for this work.

Like the poet-writer Jorge Luis Borges, I like to think of myself as unusually liberal in my insistence that every reader must have his own autonomy: "I think the reader should enrich what he's reading. He should misunderstand the text: he should change it into something else." Somebody else's original gift and I like to think that whatever quality of writing is found here is a gift, can't be duplicated, but the study of it can always help to make us a more careful guardian of our own. Clive James makes this point at his new website. And even if a reader has no plans to be a writer himself, there is always an extra fascination in watching a craftsman at work. Writing in any form is never just the style, but it isn't just the subject matter either.

Here is one of the first extensive autobiographies about one
of these quite ordinary Bahais, without fame, rank,
celebrity status or an especially acknowledged talent, who
undertook work he often felt unqualified or incompetent to
achieve, with his sins of omission and commission, but with
achievements which, he emphasizes, were all gifts from God
in mysterious & only partly understandable ways, ways
alluded to again and again in the Bahai writings. They were
achievements that arose, such is his view, due to his
association with this new Revelation and its light and were
not about name, fame or renown, although some of these now
tarnished terms play subtly and not-so-subtly on the edges
of many a life in our media age. These achievements and
their significance are sometimes termed: success, victory,
service, enterprize, sacrifice, transformation, all words
with many implications for both the individual and society.

This story, this narrative, is unquestionably one of
transformation: of a community, a Cause and a life that has
taken place in a time of auspicious beginnings for both
humankind and the Bahai community, at one of historys great
climacterics. The concept of this oeuvre, this prose and
poetry, as epic, took shape from 1997 to 2007 after more
than 50 years of association with what may well prove to be
the greatest epic in human history, the gradual realization
of the wondrous vision, the brightest emanations of the mind
of the prophet-founder of the Bahai Faith and what Bahais
believe will become, over time, the fairest fruit of the
fairest civilization the world has yet seen. During these
last ten years, my final years of full-time teaching in a
technical college in Australia and the first years of early
retirement, this concept of his work as epic has evolved.
----------------more to come at late date all being well---

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