Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang



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et's see what I can tell you about my life:

1972–1992: Grew up by the sea in Northern Germany.

1992–1994: Lived in England and Japan, working in communities for people with learning disabilities (having objected to military service).

1994–2002: Back in Germany. Studied psychology, worked in psychiatry, discovered that I would never be a good psychotherapist. Went on a two-month solo trip to Iceland, striking precarious friendships with a number of trolls.

2002–2010: Moved to London to study social research methods & statistics, and have worked as a university researcher and lecturer since. Also did a PhD in social science. My thesis took slightly longer to write than my Santharian masterwork, but will be read by fewer people. Live with my lover, advisor and companion (one person!). She and I both dream of getting out of London’s cacophony and malodorousness.

When I was eight or so, I drew a comic strip about a football team. The players were all animals, and in fact were caricatures of my favourite stuffed toys. My best joke was that halfway through one match the ball started to talk and try influencing the run of the game. I consider myself fortunate that, at the time, I had not realized my complete lack of talent in the realm of drawing or painting, and thus was free to make the comic regardless. It’s even more fortunate that I still haven’t realized my lack of talent in the realm of jokes.

My fantasy roleplaying friends and I were in our mid-teens when we founded a “fanzine”, producing about fifty copies per issue on photocopiers. Here we published out scholarly contributions: descriptions of dragons and monsters, of poisons and weapons, of schools of magickal learning, and of other fascinating discoveries. I believe we managed to make four issues. I wonder what we’d have done if we’d had the internet then.

Twenty years later I found Santharia, and felt like someone who climbs up to the long-neglected cobwebby attic of his house. Up there, he hits upon the secret door that he’d often used as a child, but had since forgotten about. I crawled through – awkwardly at first, hitting my head against the frame – and have not regretted it one bit.

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Date of Birth
Social Scientist
German, English, Shufflish. I forgot most of my French and Japanese.
Nationality Germany German
E-Mail Please use a Santharian PM if you want to contact me!
Messengers None specified
None specified
Favourite Authors
Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing, Franz Kafka, Robert Louis Stevenson, Michael Ende, Philipp Pullman, Jorge Luis Borges, Peter Høeg, Fjodor Dostojevski, Peter S. Beagle, Sten Nadolny.
Favourite Places
Iceland; caves; the sea; cloud-cuckoo-land; anywhere I can read a book.
Favourite Animals
Octopus, gannets, humpback whales.
Favourite Thinkers
Hannah Arendt, Tzvetan Todorov, Albert Camus, Michel Foucault.
Favourite Poets
Ernst Jandl, Adrian Mitchell, Dylan Thomas, W.H. Auden, Christian Morgenstern, Joachim Ringelnatz, Paul Celan.
Favourite Playwrights William Shakespeare, Wole Soyinka, Arthur Miller, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Dario Fo.
Favourite Comic Artists and Illustrators Art Spiegelman, Bill Waterson, Marc-Antoine Mathieu, Shaun Tan, Edward Gorey, Will Eisner, David B.
Favourite Musicians / Composers
Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Michael Nyman, Bobby McFerrin, Meredith Monk, Bob Dylan, Ani Difranco, Tom Waits, Tori Amos, Johann Sebastian Bach.
Favourite Movies “Time of the Wolves” (Michael Haneke), “Stalker” (Andreij Tarkovskij), “Kwaidan” (Masaki Kobayashi), “Prospero’s Books” (Peter Greenaway), “Gosford Park” (Robert Altman), “The Last Waltz” (Martin Scorsese), “Let the Right One In” (Tomas Alfredson), “Laputa” (Hayao Miyazaki), “Ratatouille” (Brad Bird).
Other Interests Singing, playing guitar, statistics, scuba diving, marine conservation, researching and opposing racism in all its forms, yoga.
Santharian Focus
All sorts. Discovering weirdness. Moderator on the People Forum.
Joining Date
January 5th 2009

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The Best Common Tater Award 2010
This laudation is gratefully presented to the wise and noble Shabakuk for having been the most superlatively Ordinary Tuberroot in the past Santharian year. We praise his flaky brown skin with clearly demarcated dimples, applaud the pure deliciousness of his flesh (whether baked, boiled, fried, or mashed), and the solidity of his overall potatoness.

(Judith pauses in her oration as Seeker runs out from behind the curtains and tugs hastily at her arm. There is a brief but intense mutter of voices as the two exchange words. Seeker exits again, straight-faced, and Judith looks back out at her audience and clears her throat...)

Er. I do beg your pardon. Someone seems to have misinformed me as to the nature of the award I was supposed to have been presenting. Apparently Master Anfang is ACTUALLY receiving the award for 'Best Commentator' - as in, one who comments upon entries. Allow me to correct myself and provide the appropriate praise....

Faithful, witty, always erudite, and tactful withal, Shabakuk Anfang's a grace to these halls. So hail our dear Shaba, who's always so fair, He comments with wisdom, and edits with care!

Shabakuk might well have been nominated for Sage of the Year, and has certainly earned the praise and recognition of his peers this Santharian past year for his invariably good-natured and intelligent postings, his even-handed critiques, and his thoughtful suggestions. We are most grateful - so here's to our EXTRA-ordinary Tuber, Shabakuk the Scholar!

(cues the applause and steps gracefully down)

The Best Masterwork Award 2010
Winning entry: "The Fymbels Association"

Now where to begin when talking about an entry that has everything you could want to have in an entry and so much more? One could easily make a dozen sub-entries with the ideas buried in this one! Well, our dear Shabakuk was never short on ideas already in his first contributions on the site - his works on Evil Ear, Ugling, Gigglepebble, Never-Sit-Still or Gobbleswap (to name just a few!) were refreshing and entertaining to say the least, and his Santhworld quiz featuring the famous Hildula Hauntwell was an exceptional challenge that was put together perfectly. All these great works finally culminated in Shabakuk's masterwork, which would be the Fymbels. This magnificent entry is so full to the brim with ideas like the Shufflish language, funny names and a lovely designed and described organization starting with Tomgirls and Floozies leading right up to the notorious Riffbuggledaze. Small details like the fuzzle emblem guarantee that you chuckle throughout the entry, and the way the Fymbels see themselves and work in the United Kingdom is a unique concept that couldn't have been embedded any better in our world. Plus: The whole entry is even a Santharian contribution to emancipation written by a man! So if you're planning to write a masterwork yourself - read this entry and get inspired: It has all the ingredients for an "entry of the decade" contribution! Congratulations, Shabakuk!

The Best People Award 2010
Winning entry: "The Fymbels Association"

Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics is one of the longest theological works ever written. The work was published as thirteen massive tomes. It took Barth decades to write the Church Dogmatics; and it takes a couple of years to read the whole work through. I always wondered, how a single man could write so many books which are highly intellectual and demanding, but a joy to read at the same time.

With his Fymbels Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang is on the way to follow in Barth‘s steps. The entry about the Fymbels consists of 15.000 words, 75.000 characters, it is the detailed and skilled analysis of a Santharian group, beautifully written, enjoyable to read, though a bit easier to understand than Karl Barth‘s Dogmatic.

The Fymbels, I love them! They are no high ranked personalities, no nobility, great magicians, musicians or single outstanding characters you could look up to. No, they are normal people, like you and me, or at least they are like we might want to be: Brave, courageous, outgoing, adventurous, skilled, enduring, inventive, vulnerable, demanding, joyous, comradely. In fact, we could look up to them also, but here we have the chance to master what they have mastered before us. And that is what makes this entry so great in my eyes: It is not only an excellent entry about a group of determined women who set out to excel in the domains of men and make their way there, not only an informative description of many crafts we have in Santharia, an accumulation of nifty little ideas Artimidor has mentioned already in his laudatio of this entry as a masterwork. This work gives us the reassurance, that we, in our daily lives, can master the tasks and difficulties which are set before us as well, for we have a bright example shining before us. We might not be aware of this effect when reading the entry - this is only fiction after all. But nevertheless - I have looked in the future a bit more optimistic after I had finished reading the "Fymbels". Hey, it is possible to overcome obstacles, the Fymbels proved it!

The Best of the Rest Award 2009
Winning entry: "Evil Ear Superstition"

As Jenna put it: This is a delightful inversion of the evil eye tradition so common across terran lands, coupled with some rather brilliant observations of the stubbornness and illogicality of some folk's beliefs, that it's just an utter joy to read! And of course, it is flavoured with the trademark creative flair we know by now from that guy with the weird name, Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang. This one's a winner, and a huge one at that!

The Best Magic Contribution Award 2011
Winning entry: "The Magic Art of Witchcraft"

If there were a Santharian award for Entry That Made Me Want To Stop Writing Because I’ll Never Write Anything This Good, this would be it. This entry showcases all Shabakuk’s inventiveness, all his verve, all his fantastic mastery of language and all his mastery of fantastic language to the highest degree. There is very little to be said about it that is not unmitigated praise - it is delightful in its whimsy, enjoyable in its philosophy, and breathtakingly elegant in its prose. All in all, an absolutely wonderful entry, and a fitting testament to Shabakuk’s dedication to the site and commitment to making it both a richer and a more vibrant place to dream.

The Best of the Rest Award 2011
Winning contribution: 
"The Mysteries of Nepris, Part II"

The Best of the Rest in Two Thousand Eleven Has been voted by people's acclaim,
And declared to be Santhworld - mysterious heaven, That brings an entire group fame.
We must praise our dear sage first and foremost, of course, Who invented the conceptual game,
But also the artists who've worked like a horse, To visualize all of the same.
For Nepris the Second has outdone the First, Though the First surely could not be called 'lame',
Enthralling and frustrating, our heads fit to burst, Entrapping both master and dame.

The writers have laboured on twists and on turns, To make a mysterious plot,
And soundmen and actors and sketchers of ferns, We truly do owe you a lot,
Plus hugs to the Grinch, who's a techie at heart, And helps us all out of a spot!
So thanks to the many who've made this success, A bit of the whole in the pot,
Santharia distilled, like delectable stew, Good whether you finish - or not!

The Best People Award 2011
Winning entry: "The Mythical WItch Dula ('Hildula Hauntwell')"

The Best Person Award goes to Witch Dula, compendiumized by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang - but wait! Is she truly the best, when we cannot even agree if she stands for the side of good, or of bad? Does she represent the power of pure knowledge and helpfulness, or a chaotic spirit of harm and destructiveness? The dichotomy of Dula's complex character has been well-biographied by Master Anfang, with his usual airy skill. Well-rounded phrases intrigue us to read on; detail and description flavoured with whimsy and wit draw us into the labyrinthine weavings that make up one of the most fascinating (in all senses of the word) individuals it has been our pleasure to host at the Compendium in months - in fact, as we have agreed, this year! We can only shake our heads in wonder - and with a little bit of caution - trepidation mixed with our interest - awe and delight mingled in that pit-of-the-stomach-taking-the-corners-too-fast tingle, and perhaps just a touch of envy. - Here's to Shaba and his polished prose; may he write many another entry to please us!

Commitment Badge 2011
Over his few short years as a dreamer in Santharia, Master Anfang has demonstrated his commitment to the Santharian Dream in his entries, in his comments, in his advice, in his moderatorship and in his friendship to all in the dream team. It doesn't matter whether the person is a newcomer taking his or her first faltering steps into writing entries for the compendium, or the most experienced and hard bitten of sages, bards, artists, poets or researchers, Shabby, as he is affectionately known, is ready with a dream louse, gigglepebble, story, poem or tasty food. His entries speak for themselves ... Fymbels, Witchcraft, the Gossiper Bird, the Never Sit Still Mushroom, Dula the Witch, the Evil Ear, Faithful Coat (a witch spell) among others... each one of which is a wonder and a delight to read. Additionally, Master Anfang is an active contributor to Santhworld and also a well appreciated member of the play by post board. All of this shows the commitment that Shabby has to the Santharian Dream, and he is most definitely deserving of this Commitment Badge. Congratulations Master Anfang!

 Nominations Newcomer 2009, Bestiary 2009 - The Ugling Water Creature, The Gigglepebble, Herbarium 2009 - The Never-Sit-Still Mushroom, Poetry 2010 - Etherus' Delight

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 Date of last edit 18th Sleeping Dreameress 1670 a.S.

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