“The Awdrey-Gore Legacy” is a strange collection of drawings and microtexts, seemingly loosely inspired by a game of Clue and the detective genre. It’s filled with potential murder weapons, suspects, situations, and enigmas. As with quite a few of Edward Gorey’s works, it’s something of an aleatory piece where the reader is allowed to mentally arrange and rearrange the pieces to see if some kind of plot or story arises. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about here.
It’s the runes that I want to draw your attention to.
When we come across runes in a game or story today, more often than not it will be in a context of magic and fantasy. Granted, Gorey may have used them here to give the item an aura of mystery, but he himself subverts this through the actual message contained in the runic note: it’s a shopping list: eggs, butter, cheese, and all that.
In a historical context, Gorey’s list isn’t as out of place as it may seem. While the majority of known runic inscriptions were memorials, and only a small part was magical, runes were used for more everyday purposes as well. It is particularly from mediaeval Norway that we know of people writing (love) letters and marriage proposals on wooden rune sticks, as well as the use of wooden labels to mark ownership of commercial wares. To use runes for a shopping list is then not that far-fetched.
Sunday Frames is a series of short pieces where the author muses on one or a small number of stills, frames, pictures, screenshots, or illustrations.