Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Friday, February 10, 2006

Personal Diaries of F W Boreham

Boreham's Personal Diaries
It would seem that From England to Mosgiel and Loose Leaves represent a selection of experiences that Boreham culled from his personal diaries that he diligently kept.[1] While he extolled the virtues of keeping a diary only eight of his annual diaries are in existence and these record the final years of his life.[2]

These hardback Invicta Australian Diaries reinforce many of the characteristics that have previously been mentioned about F.W. Boreham. He records the books he reads, the newspaper articles he writes and the sermons he preaches. His meticulous attention to detail is evident in the daily description of the weather, the times when he took the tram to the shops and the time he returned, the sports matches he attends or listens to on the wireless (along with the scores) and the times he gets his hair cut! One gets the impression that life ran like clockwork, however he builds in regular times for seeing a play, visiting the Botannical Gardens, sitting by the river, or going for a drive up Melbourne's Mt. Dandenong and having luch or a cup of tea at the Red Mill. Boreham's diaries reveal his pastoral heart and the amazing contact he had with people by writing letters.

Last Lines of Boreham
The diaries from the last decade of Boreham's life reveal a man who was tiring, battling ill health, the burden of grief and the decline in the health of his loved ones. He would spend much time on his verandah, reading and cogitating. While visitors often came (many of who were distinguished such as Billy Graham and Leslie Weatherhead), frequently a sad and lonely diary entry appeared, "Nobody came: No letters." The early years of the 1950s seem to centre around the Wednesday Lunch Hour services at Scots Church but when these ceased, the writing of articles for the Mercury and the Age were his chief remaining tasks. Recalling his early contention that "the keeping of a diary is a species of self-communing" it would seem that Boreham's diaries became the place for talking to himself especially about the low and difficult times, for it did not seem that he wanted to burden his family with such conversation. One gets the impression that Frank Boreham was finding it difficult to relate to the changes in life. While he had been given a television he did not watch it but there are two or three entries in 1958 when he accepts his neighbour's invitation to watch test cricket on television.[3]

As testimony to his discipline, Frank Boreham had "an honest and conscientiously kept diary." Moreover, he would have a sense of accomplishment to be numbered among those he had commended who kept "their journals intact to the last." Boreham's diaries remain as a treasure and as one of the many ways that he continues to speak to people long after the ink has dried.

Geoff Pound

[1] Toward the end of Loose Leaves (p.92) F.W.Boreham alludes to his more comprehensive personal diaries when he writes, "And yet as I turn over the pages of the journal from which these leaves are torn, how many are those excursions which I should like to have chronicled!"
[2] The diaries relate to the years 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1958 and 1959. When F.W.Boreham died many of his books (including these diaries) were gathered up by Rev. Sir Irving Benson and when Benson died Boreham's diaries and two letters were deposited with Benson's papers in the State Library of Victoria (Ref. No. MS 11508 Boreham, Rev. Dr. F.)
[3] F.W. Boreham, Personal Diary, 1958, 2,4 January,

Travel Journals Written By F W Boreham

A Tunbridge Wells Man's Voyage
One of the earliest attempts by F.W.Boreham at journalling was his travelogue entitled From England to Mosgiel, N.Z. by Frank William Boreham.[1] This was published in five instalments in the British Courier newspaper in the form of letters to the editor and headed 'A TUNBRIDGE WELLS MAN'S VOYAGE TO NEW ZEALAND.' As with many of his later articles these letters were cut from the newspaper, pasted onto pages and bound together with a handwritten front cover.[2] Indicative of Boreham's initiative, these letters were sent to the editor, "in the hope that a few notes by the way, made during my voyage to New Zealand, may be of interest to readers of the Courier."[3]

Already in evidence in these early writings from Boreham's pen is eye for detail and his fine use of language to capture the things that caught his fancy. Describing the last glimpses of England as the Tainui edged away from the fading coastline Boreham wrote:

"The hilly cliffs towered up in sullen majesty, the thin layer of snow which had fallen the day before still lay in the valleys beneath them, whilst the sun glinting and glistening on them both threw into view at the same time distances of landscape which had otherwise been entirely hidden from us."[4]

Also in evidence are the many long sentences and the stockpiling of adjectives typical of his early writings and for which Boreham received some criticism from his reviewers.[5] In describing the balmy atmosphere of Teneriffe, the Spanish markets and the matadors and the half-clothed urchins who volunteered their services as guides, the romance of life is already becoming an all pervasive theme of Boreham's writings. His inquisitive spirit got this 'uninitiated Protestant' into trouble when he scaled the Cathedral pulpit only to get hauled down and told this was forbidden unless accompanied by a guide and paying "two pennies!"[6] Possibly this was the only time in his life that F.W. Boreham paid to mount a pulpit!

Already apparent in this journal is Boreham's love affair with nature as he describes the spouting whales, the changing weather patterns, the picturesque sunsets and the emergence in the night sky of the Southern Cross. He relished identifying the table-mountain in Capetown, Hobart's Mount Wellington and many other 'monuments of nature' that he had read about in books and atlases. The gardens, statues and museums also were beginning to feature in this early writing as well as the figures of history they often represented.

Readers of the Courier who knew him must have been delighted to learn that their lad from Tunbridge Wells was impressed with the friendliness of the 'Britain of the South.' The advertisements for Pears Soap and Singer Sewing Machines were among the familiar reminders of home. The beauty of the Otago harbour, the surrounding hills and the architecture of the inner-city all contributed to the newcomer's claim that Dunedin "is beyond all doubt or dispute by far the finest in New Zealand" and that "the last hour of my voyage was, I think, the most enjoyable of all."[7] Furthermore, Boreham's first impressions of his new town of Mosgiel are favourable- "a more delightful spot it would be difficult to find."[8] With audacity, the young writer expresses opinions on the investment in great harbours, the railways, the pride of the colonists, the standard of education, the wonderful invention of the telephone (yet it is interesting that Boreham never wanted a telephone and only got connected because of his family's ill health six months before his death!), the high standard of photography and of course the climate. Realising that he may have overstepped the mark with his opinions he admits his lack of qualifications to give accurate opininions he humouressly concludes- "let me don the simple garb of a novice, and quietly and gracefully retire to hide my head in the silent regions of unassuming ignorance."[9]

Loose Leaves
Buoyed undoubtedly by the interest in his earlier published travelogue and tempted by an enterprising editor to submit further scribblings, F.W.Boreham wrote a second journal. Entitled Loose Leaves: from the Journal of My Voyage Round the World, these jottings total 110 pages, were published by the Taieri Advocate (the local paper) and the large Dunedin publishers, H.H.Driver and were sold for sixpence.

Commencing in Wellington, Loose Leaves records the return of Frank, Stella and new daughter, Ivy Boreham to England and back- "the long-dreamed-of voyage, every thought of which had seemed to live and move and have its being in a perfect halo of romance."[10] One senses the jubilant mood of the young family when Frank Boreham stockpiles the adjectives:

"As the setting sun gilded and glorified the vast waste of waters, the hilltops that an hour before had vanished in the dismal grey of an autumn afternoon, again burst into view. But not dull and leaden as before, but bathed in a perfect glory of crimson and violet and gold. The sun sank lower. The twin tops of the Kaikouras gleamed in the warm western glow like the golden mountains of romance. And then, as suddenly as though the Queen of the Fairies had spoken the magic word, the sun was gone, the golden hills had disappeared, and we were gazing once more at the black and landless sea-line."[11]

As with his earlier letters to the Courier, Loose Leaves is filled with pictures from nature such as the ocean's "constant changes of temper and tint,"[12]and the first visit of a land-bird after eighteen days without sight of land. However, some noticeable inclusions in Loose Leaves are the character studies of passengers, various quaint happenings on board ship (such as the phenomenon of living through an eight day week) and the humorous touches of dining in South American restaurants.

Because Frank Boreham is writing his journal for an audience, the personal and family references are sparce. However, in a semi-disguised fashion he writes about "a little girl (who shall be nameless)" who to her parents disgust screams out,"I can see England!"[13] and the sleepless final night before arrival in the Motherland. Boreham moves beyond mere narrative when writing ecstatically of the joy of this reunion- "it was in driving and rambling around this home and throne of English beauty, in the delightful company of the best of parents and the kindest of kindred, that the happiest hours of my long holiday were spent."[14]

F.W.Boreham is thrilled to be back home and writes glowingly of the beauty of Tunbridge Wells and the figures from royalty and the pages of history who have lived in his town. Visiting the ruins of Hastings one day he lets his imagination run riot as he hears the clash of steel and watches the fierce encounters of armed men fighting beneath the castle.

Having left London and then returned, Boreham discovers that his vision is enhanced so much more than those who have never left- "I confess that I saw more of London, and formed a more just appreciation of it, during my brief visit after a lapse of several years, than during all the years of my residence in the metropolis."[15]In this quote Boreham reveals one of the secrets to his insight, the fresh perception one obtains through travel and seeing things through fresh eyes. Moreover, Boreham's description of London demonstrates his ability to see in the prosaic, "the glow of romance."[16]

Journeying to Scotland by train has a new dimension, for the Boreham's are fascinated with the striking similarities with their New Zealand home- "It almost seemed as though I was in- Mosgiel!"[17]This part of the voyage takes the form of a pilgrimage for Boreham is keen to fossick around in the homeland of so many of the people for who he is their pastor. How his people would have relished reading these loose leaves on which is penned Boreham's love affair with Scotland.

The Boreham's cap off their visit to the United Kingdom with a visit to Buckingham Palace. The royal family is out in full force to welcome the President of the French republic and never one to miss an anniversary FWB recalls that this is the day ten years earlier when he was part of the crowd who witnessed the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York. So this section of the journal concludes with the anthem, God Save The King! The love for the monarchy stayed with Boreham throughout his life, is often referred to in his writings and fittingly he kept a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II inside his diary.

Frank Boreham was much loved for the confessional style of his writing. Yet he always knew when to exercise discretion and in Loose Leaves he allows his readers to recognise the more that isn't told in the sentence- "Over 'the sadness of farewell' I draw the veil."[18] With 'Old England Astern' the account of the return journey begins rather cryptically and seems set in the minor key. Boreham is a passionate writer who reveals through his words the emotions that he is experiencing. However, a visit to Cape Town and the appearance in the southern seas of an iceberg- "the most magnificent and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon upon which these eyes have ever rested"[19]- fires up within the writer his sense of wonder and the words to express it. Soon after, Boreham rather tersely describes the stop at Hobart and reaching the final destination in New Zealand. He is again in sombre mood "with very mingled feelings that we realised that our long-dreamed-of trip was a thing of the past" and that, "the best of things come to an end."[20]

Geoff Pound

[1] F.W. Boreham, From England to Mosgiel, N.Z., Five letters to the editor of the Courier, 6 & 21 March,1895
[2] This journal which F.W.Boreham kept in his personal possession is now part of the collection housed in the F.W.Boreham Mission Training Centre, at the Australian Baptist Missionary Society headquarters, 597 Burwood Rd., (P.O.Box 273), HAWTHORN 3122, Australia.
[3] F.W. Boreham, From England to Mosgiel, N.Z., March,1895, p.1
[4] Ibid., p.1.
[5] One reviewer of Boreham's book The Whisper of God and Other Sermons [1902] wrote, "if illustrations and incidents did not jostle so thickly on the pages and the poetical quotations were remorselessly reduced the sermons would gain much in value." The source of this review is unknown, however it is pasted in the inside cover of Boreham's personal copy in the library of Whitley College, 271 Royal Pde. PARKVILLE 3052, Australia.
[6] F.W. Boreham, From England to Mosgiel, N.Z., March,1895, p.3
[7] Ibid., p.14
[8] Ibid., p.14
[9] Ibid., p.15
[10] F.W. Boreham, Loose Leaves, Mosgiel: Taieri Advocate & Dunedin: H.H.Driver, 1902, p.7
[11] Ibid., p.7-8
[12] Ibid., p.9
[13] Ibid., p.39
[14] Ibid., p.49
[15] Ibid., p.63
[16] Ibid., p.63
[17] Ibid., p.75
[18] Ibid., p.98
[19] Ibid., p.105
[20] Ibid., p.110

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Boreham on Journal Writing: Part Two

Just For Company
Beyond the educational value of keeping chronicles Boreham recognised the solace that they can give, especially in a person's deepest and difficult times. Citing the example of General Gordon during a long vigil at Khartoum, his diary was not only the way he could "shatter the maddening tyranny of his solitude" but it became the lifeline in which he kept his diary "as though his very life depended on it."[1]

Frank Boreham was moved by people who kept their diaries right to the end of their days, especially under trying conditions- "Few things are more touching or more significant than the concern that dying men display, under certain conditions, to keep their journals intact to the last." [2]He was inspired by the way Henry Livingstone penned his scarcely legible last lines in mortal agony, Burke the Australian explorer who determinedly recorded the details of his death in the dusty desert and Captain Scott who wrote until the Antarctic ice froze the strength needed to hold his pen. Not only did such people continue contact with the world they left behind but their diaries enabled them to "say their say to the Ages."[3]

Priceless Archives
While he viewed diaries as a personal savings bank, Boreham recognised the riches they could offer to others. He wrote:

"Among all her priceless archives, the Church has no documents comparable in value with personal outpourings of this intimate kind. She treasures as above all price the Confessions of St. Augustine, the Breviary of St. Teresa, Bunyan's Grace Abounding, Newton's Autobiography and the self-revealing journals of men like David Brainerd and John Woolman."[4]

Frank Boreham testified to the benefit he derived from reading other people's diaries when commending to ministers the habit of reading John Wesley's journal most Saturday nights.[5] The question of whether a diary has the greatest value when it is written for the diarist's eyes alone is pertinent when one considers the Boreham diaries and journals that have been preserved. (To be continued).

Geoff Pound

[1] Ibid., p.42
[2] Ibid., p.43
[3] Ibid., p.43
[4] Ibid., p.43
[5] F.W. Boreham, The Luggage of Life, London: Charles H. Kelly, 1912, p.202

Boreham on Journal Writing: Part One

"An honest and conscientiously kept diary is an instrument by means of which a man preserves his own personality for his future delectation and instruction."
F.W. Boreham, The Last Milestone, London: The Epworth Press, 1961, p.42.

While considerable attention has been given to F.W. Boreham's prolific output of books and sermons, less attention has been paid to the personal diaries that he kept and the significance that he attached to this habit. Beyond his "inordinate passion for scribbling"[1] Frank Boreham recognised that there were many important reasons for the keeping of a diary.

Talking To Oneself
He once wrote that, "the keeping of a diary is a species of self-communing; the self of Today talking to the same self of Tomorrow."[2] This 'talking to oneself' as the daily events and thoughts are recorded can be a catharsis, a means of pouring out one's soul and crystallising what is happening deep within. Boreham stated that the value of a diary goes beyond the recording of times and events to become the means by which a person might engage their self, relive the conversations and so milk more joy out of life. This idea is reminiscent of Oscar Wilde whose character once commented, "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."[3] Boreham often remarked on the way that a certain book would take him back to the moors or the paths of Tunbridge Wells, so in this way his diaries became the avenues by which he entered again into earlier experiences and enjoyed communion with his former self.

Savings Bank
Boreham believed that the writing and reading of a diary can have educational value- "an honest and conscientiously kept diary is an instrument by means of which a man preserves his own personality for his future delectation and instruction."[4] He believed that diaries can preserve the important things- "Like bees in amber, the thoughts, feelings and impressions of Today are made available to the eyes of Tomorrow."[5] Boreham loved Emerson's image of a diary being like a savings bank in which precious experiences could be heaped up and hoarded in order that they might be drawn upon for future guidance. Implicit in this is the thought that a diary can not only amass but accrue value to life's experiences, for the maturity of age and the wisdom of hindsight enables one to reap further dividends from the events of the past.

Geoff Pound

[1] F.W. Boreham, A Witch's Brewing, London: The Epworth Press, 1932, p.106
[2] F.W. Boreham, The Last Milestone, London: The Epworth Press, 1961, p.42
[3] O. Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest in Plays, London: Penguin Books, 1895, p.292
[4] Ibid., p.42
[5] Ibid., p.42

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

F W Boreham On Art

F W Boreham on Art

"In the years ahead of them they will be tempted to smile disdainfully upon the days when they loitered in Art galleries and wasted time in doing nothing...."
F.W. Boreham The Nest of Spears

The Eyes Have It
Throughout his writings F.W. Boreham displayed a rare ability to paint with words a breathtaking scene or a colourful cameo. Such a gift was nurtured when from an early age his home and many of the places he visited were adorned with pictures. When recalling his childhood days he referred to "the strange pictures on the wall"[1] of his grandfather's home or the influence of Canon Hoare at Tunbridge Wells and the story he told him about a picture.[2]

A Very Valuable Picture
As a student at school Frank Boreham was never as happy as when he had a pen in his hand but although he took courses in model drawing and freehand he once wrote, "drawing was a perfect bugbear to me."[3] While he admitted to a lack of talent and enjoyment of drawing this did not curtail his attempts for on one occasion when he was preparing to speak in a English chapel on the missionary Robert Moffatt, it occurred to him that a picture might be a marvellous supplement to his lecture. After drawing a life-size portrait from a small engraving he went to the country chapel and hung his masterpiece above the pulpit. After surveying the finished work with pride he encountered a young lady who's artistic taste he admired. He told her about his forthcoming lecture and begged her to examine his illustration and give her opinion. Boreham takes up the story:

'It should,' she observed thoughtfully, 'be a very valuable picture!'
This completely took my breath away. I had fondly hoped that, with characteristic courtesy- and charity- she might perhaps say that it would answer its purpose; but 'a very valuable picture!' I had never dreamed of so dazzling a bouquet.
'And may I ask,' I resumed, in the moment of my elation, 'why you think it so valuable?'
'Well, you see,' she replied, with a charming smile, 'you happen this evening to be lecturing on Robert Moffatt. But, in days to come, you may find yourself lecturing on other men; and that, she continued, glancing at my picture, 'would fit any conceivable occasion!'
I felt that no punishment could be too severe for a young lady who could be guilty of such cold-blooded cruelty. So, later on, I married her.'[4]

While this may have been the last time Boreham used his own paintings to illustrate his addresses, in Hobart he gave Sunday night lectures in the Town Hall equipped with slides and his magic lantern talks were much loved. The use of paintings as a frontispiece in many of his books are further evidence of his love and appreciation of art.[5]

Holes in the Walls
For F.W. Boreham, paintings could serve as an 'escape.' Often when sitting in his home he would gaze at the water-colour of New Zealand's Piripiki Gorge, a favourite Boreham holiday resort. Explaining the 'excursions' he would take from his armchair he said:
'On a winter's night, when the rain is lashing against the windows and the wind shrieking round the house, I glance up at it, and by some magic transition, I am roaming on a summers evening over the old familiar hills with my gun in my hand and John Broadbanks by my side.'[6]

Through the medium of paintings Boreham's mind would be transported 'to other days and other places' and his room would be transformed 'into an observatory... to survey the entire universe.'[7] Developing the theme further Boreham writes:
'A picture on the wall is like a window- only more so!...a picture is an opening into infinity...By means of the pictures I cut holes in the walls and look out upon any landscape that takes my fancy. And when evening comes, I draw the blinds, illumine the room from within, and the panorama that has so delighted me in the day-time reveals fresh charms in the softer radiance of the lamps. We all owe more to pictures than we ever yet begun to suspect.'[8]

Sauntering Among the Pictures
While on holiday F.W. Boreham found it hard to go past an art gallery, in the course of his regular activities he made a habit of frequently visiting the local art gallery. Friday afternoon was his usual time for this pursuit when he lived in Melbourne but he once confessed to snatching other times to satisfy his pleasure:
'Drizzle, drizzle, drizzle; drip, drip, drip; the city was at its worst; and I had nearly an hour to wait between the close of one committee-meeting and the opening of another. I took the tram up to the Art Gallery, and was soon lost to the world and its weather in the contemplation of a painting...'[9]

F.W. Boreham recognised some similarity between artists of the palette, the pen and the pulpit. Taking inspiration from John Constable who painted the English countryside the way it looked rather than the way it ought to look, Boreham urged painters of words to follow in this honest tradition- "Let no preacher preach in such a certain way simply because [the preacher] fancies that it is in that particular way that preachers are expected to preach!"[10] Driving the point home Boreham stated that preaching and writing are no less individualistic expressions than painting and he reassured such artists that they have a unique way of seeing God and the world and that each "must therefore paint or preach or pray or write as nobody else does." This call to be oneself is a constant theme in the writings of F.W. Boreham and the expression of one's "naked and transparent means of...palette...pulpit or...pen" is according to Boreham, a vital key to the communication of truth.[11]

Beauty in Every Daily Ditch
F.W. Boreham greatly admired the art of Joseph Turner who painted everyday objects and scenes that to many appeared to lack beauty or any striking features.[12] Boreham believed that such a gift enabled people to recognise "that there is a wealth of comeliness lurking in sordid and mundane objects that had hitherto appeared to them to be utterly prosaic and almost disgustingly commonplace."[13] It is interesting that much of F.W. Boreham's popularity was widely attributed to this same contribution of Turner to art and that of Dickens to literature- the ability "to prove that lots of things are exquisitely beautiful whose beauty had been cunningly camouflaged"[14] and to inspire people to know "that if beauty lurked in such things, it might be found in any one of a million places in which it had never occurred to them to look for it."[15] The writing and preaching of F.W. Boreham illustrate the dictum of the naturalist Richard Jeffries who said "that, if a [person] carries a sense of beauty in [their] eye, [they] will see beauty in every daily ditch [they pass."[16]

A Perfect Riot of Pastel Shades
The writings of F.W. Boreham reveal the kaleidoscope of emotions that many paintings evoked within him. His delight in humour and his appreciation of the skill of cartoonists found expression in his article, The Gentle Art of Ridicule.[17] Frequently he spoke of standing in a gallery and being moved to admiration or courage.[18] When writing of the sadness conveyed through the Australian painting representing the return of the explorers Burke and Wills to the deserted camp at Cooper's Creek and McCubbins's picture of 'The Pioneer' Boreham asked, "Why are the saddest pictures the greatest favourites?[19] He believed "from pictures of pain that a pain-racked world derives comfort and courage"[20] Moreover, he asserted that in war time or "in days when the nerves are overwrought and the emotions overcharged, [art] has a special mission and relief."[21]

Boreham Favourites
The books and articles of F.W. Boreham refer to paintings in the Dreadnought Ranges (NZ), the Melbourne Art Gallery, the Sydney Art Gallery and the Geelong Art Gallery. It may reflect Boreham's taste and possibly the holdings of the galleries he visited when one realises that most of the paintings he refers to are the works of British and Australian artists and that there is a noticeable absence of French impressionist painters. While not always on display, the many paintings in the Melbourne Gallery (now held in the National Gallery of Victoria) which Boreham cites in his books include the following (with page references to first editions):
A. Boyd Waiting for the Tide The Tide Comes In, p.103 (This is temporarily held in the State Library of Victoria)
E. Burne-Jones Ascension A Late Lark Singing, p. 96.
J. Constable (Several) I Forgot to Say, p.126.
The Last Milestone p.29.
F.Dicksee The Crisis The Tuft of Comet's Hair, p201.
T. Faed The Mitherless Bairn The Fiery Crags, p.114.
St. George Hare The Victory of Faith A Late Lark Singing p.178-179.
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J. Longstaff Burke & Wills et al The Three Half-Moons, p.235.
Wisps Of Wildfire, p.37.
F. McCubbin The Pioneer The Other Side of the Hill, p.31.
Mountains in the Mist, p.75-80.
The Prodigal, p.9.
J. Pettie Challenged A Witch's Brewing, p.89.
G.T. Pinwell Out of Tune The Golden Milestone p.258.
A.T.A. Schenck Anguish Mountains in the Mist, p.191.
F. Tattegrain The Convalescent I Forgot to Say, p.104
J. Turner (Several cited) The Drums of the Dawn, p.239
The Blue Flame, p.174
The Last Milestone, p.29.
G.F.Watts Hope The Ivory Spires, p.83
The Three Half-Moons, p.85
C. Whymper ..Vulture's Eye.. The Blue Flame, p.2,8.
D.Wilkie (Several cited) The Ivory Spires, p.11

Geoff Pound

[1] F.W. Boreham, My Pilgrimage, p22.
[2] F.W. Boreham, Bunch of Everlastings, p218.
[3] F.W. Boreham, My Pilgrimage, p37.
[4] F.W. Boreham, My Pilgrimage, p37-39.
[5] Among these are The Golden Milestone, The Other Side of the Hill and Faces in the Fire.
[6] F.W. Boreham, Rubble and Roseleaves, p227-228.
[7] Ibid, p228.
[8] Ibid, p229.
[9] F.W. Boreham, A Tuft of Comet's Hair, p101
[10] F.W. Boreham, I Forgot to Say, p.132
[11]Ibid. p132.
[12] A good example of this is Turner's painting, Rain, Steam and Speed.
[13] F.W. Boreham, The Drums of Dawn, p.239.
[14] F.W. Boreham, The Last Milestone, p.29.
[15] Ibid., p.29.
[16] Ibid., p.29.
[17] F.W. Boreham, Ships of Pearl, p.203
[18] For examples see The Passing of John Broadbanks, p.130; The Other Side of the Hill, p.31
[19] F.W. Boreham, The Other Side of the Hill, p.31.
[20] Ibid, p.38.
[21] Ibid, p.30.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Boreham On Cultivating Absent-Mindedness

The worst crime ever laid to F W Boreham’s charge was the crime of being absent-minded. He distinctly remembered a certain examination day. The visiting inspector tested his class in matters of geography. He asked some question about Western Canada which sent his mind hurtling off on eventful journeys of its own.

All at once the boy sitting next to him gave him a dig with his elbow that almost fractured his ribs and whispered, "Java." Boreham then realised the inspector was looking right at him so he shot up his hand and said, "Java!"

"Exactly,” said the teacher with a patronizing smile. "And now perhaps you will repeat the question that I asked you!" Boreham was floored for his previous question about Canada had dispatched his mind on a personally conducted tour to the Rocky Mountains and he was in the midst of a titanic struggle with a grizzly bear at the very moment when he was being asked about Java.

This happened all the time. His unimaginative teachers insisted on asking their most ridiculous questions concerning Latin declensions and recurring decimals at exciting moments when he was snatching a beautiful girl from the horns of an angry bull, or just when he was pursuing single-handedly a powerful tribe of Iroquois Indians or delivering a charming princess from a blazing palace or winning the Victoria Cross under circumstances of unprecedented gallantry.

What some negatively call absent-mindedness could be interpreted as the very thing that cultivates a fertile imagination. Boreham changed mental gears in many ways‑through sleep, watching cricket, sitting in an armchair chair or going for a walk.

In the preface to one of his books he gives an example of the deliberate cultivation of absent-mindedness: “I have finished the book but not got a title: we must go out this afternoon and get one! We set out for the park...and saw something unusual….The swans were flying high above our heads....although we have visited this idyllic spot once or twice a week for many years, we had never before seen seagulls here...Why?...” So his new book received its title on a walk‑When the Swans Fly High.

The Importance of the Delete Button

If F W Boreham was advising writers and preachers today he would tell them that the most important tool on their computer was the Delete button.

A young English minister in Tasmania was preparing for a visit to the Homeland and working on an important address he had been invited to give at Spurgeon’s College. He wrote to his mentor, F W Boreham, asking him to go through his twenty five page manuscript and make some suggestions.

In his letter of reply the old man said, “If I may be so bold I would suggest that you delete the first seven pages and let your address commence with page eight!”

Boreham knew the importance of the opening sentences of a talk and the first lines of an article. No preambles for him. Effective communicators must hit the delete button and go to the subject of utmost importance while their audience is fresh and most receptive.