Saturday, August 9, 2008

In 1979 I spent the summer in Paris, and many hours were passed
perusing the bookshelves in Shakespeare & Company. While digging
through some boxes of books stacked up in a corner, I came across
an old address book where the original addresses had been crossed
through, and new ones entered. Inscribed in the front is:

Carnet d'adress de mon grand pere M Andry - 80 r de Longchamp
continue par Mamam, which translates to:

"Address book of my grandfather Mr. Andry, 80 Longchamp Street,
continued by Mother."

When I asked George Whitman, the proprietor of Shakespeare & Company,
how much for the book, he turned it over and over in his hands, asked
himself, "do I need an address book? No. You can have it. No charge."

It's a lovely little book, well-used, with a burgundy-colored embossed
cover and marbled end-papers. I've kept it now for nearly 30 years,
and used it for the first time last night in the collage pictured above.
Like the cancelled stamps, it too carries with it the secrets of many
lives. I intend to give this address book an additional life in images
cobbled together on paper: torn, copied, cut, glued, trimmed, matted.

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