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.