Upon the occasion of a second hand book sale an encounter with a dead man’s (Roger Spalding’s) copy of a still living author’s novel (Edmund White’s The Beautiful Room is Empty) there is an opportunity to enter the ethos of the scroll bearing the stamps of previous owners and commentators. Stamp upon stamp clustering near an edge.
Front flyleaf bears a date (Nov 23/88) top of the page and to the left and to the right Roger’s name, longhand. At the back above the colophon and the Note on the Type (“Old Style No. 7, composed in a page, gives a subdued color and an even texture that make it easily and comfortably read.”) is another date, a span of five days (Aug. 18-20/95), and below a comment, all in green ink:
& very sloppily edited
(though not quite as bad as
A Boy’s Own Story)
Beneath that judgement and below the Note on the Type and below an arrow travelling the margin pointing upwards to the words left by Roger, unsigned, in a different hand, also in green ink:
Yes sloppy not in its being overwritten or poorly
edited but in the plainness of its neurosis
set in a plot structure similiar [sic] to pulp fiction
trash. Ordinary ignition – Sparks without
a bonfire. True to the problem of finding an
idiom suited to the personal & social feeling of love.
The response ends there at the page’s edge.
On the front flyleaf on a line immediately below Roger’s is a date (Nov/06) and a name in the same green ink hand as the response from the back and immediately below, a long expanse of white space to the page’s end. Or so it was prior to release on the occasion of another second hand book sale and further adventures.
And so for day 5
No idea why so much of the Note on the Type is copied here except to suggest that “subdued color and an even texture” matches “the plainness of its neurosis”.