Saturday, May 16, 2009


I think I may be the only person in the world to have captured an idiom on camera. This is what it looks like:

Once upon a time, that mass of shredded paper was known by the name of Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria. Although an old edition, this one held more sentimental than actual value for me, as I bought it on 18th Feb 2003 (I know because I still have the receipt), in a little second-hand bookshop in Lower Manhattan, on my way back from Strand and Books of Wonder, in the middle of a blizzard that pretty much stopped the city in its tracks. But believe you me, if there’s a will to shop, there’s way to get to the shops. BioLit is one of my favourite books because it applies philosophy to literature and because I love the way in which Coleridge refers to his good friend and colleague as ‘Mr Wordsworth’ throughout.

Above and beyond all this, BioLit has featured prominently in my writings as of late and this is precisely the reason why it laid bookmarked on the rattan trunk at the bottom of my bed this morning, when I left the house and forgot William’s door open. It wasn’t William that entertained himself with it because William does not do these things. It was the seemingly innocuous Victoria that did it, sinking my heart and potentially jeopardising the end of my piece in one swoop. I returned to a floor covered in torn pages, the book itself only recognisable to the trained (and affectionate) eye and to the nose that many times enjoyed a whiff of its 1906 ink. There may be a bit of an adjustment to be made to next week’s schedule but at least now I’ve got a picture of a spanner in the works.
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