Reading List

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Splitting a pair

When you’re next in a bookstore look out for Bruce Chatwin’s novel Utz. For collectors amongst us, it’s a compelling read as much of the story centres on what it is to be a collector.

I really like how the porcelain-obsessed Kaspar Utz sums up the experience of being a collector: 
“As a young child will reach out to handle the things it names, so the passionate collector, his eye in harmony with his hand, restores to the object the life-giving touch of its maker.”
Now, being the purveyor of ‘life-giving’ touches is quite a responsibility. And one that has its downsides. 

When I bought this card to Miss Gertrud, alongside it sat another also addressed to her. It used the same hieroglyphic-like code, and was clearly part of the same 100 year-old conversation. But, for reasons of me feeling a bit tight, I didn’t buy it. 

Ouch! I regret it.

Whenever I hold the card I always relive the moment I separated it from its sibling. Rather than giving it life, I know I took something from it.

But you learn from your mistakes. And I have made amends for this episode. Next week I will explain more. In fact, it is a collecting triumph that, to quote the lovely Beth, will fill your eyes with joy. Kaspar would be proud.


  1. I read somewhere, and it did not originate with me - NOTICE WHAT YOU NOTICE. As an artist, I often see images that attract me - the images being what my mind's eye holds if even for a few seconds. If they attract your eye, there is something about it that has raised your awareness. Keep it coming!

  2. I have to agree with "life giving touch"

    I have learned if I see something like a postcard or vintage photo that is one of a kind an I will never see another again... I will buy it. I have never regretted it. My collection sure has grown!

    I wonder what the code is... was it the love of her life telling of his devotion or a girl friend sharing secrets? Just know even if you had both cards you may never know what they wrote about.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sometimes I put back cards that I wish later that I had bought. On the other hand, I sometimes wish I hadn't bought some of the cards that I did buy.

  4. Can't wait to read the rest of the story and the collecting triumph that is to come!

  5. Never second-guess that impulse! I've learned that lesson the hard way, too.