Friday, August 28, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Twenty-Six - "Maybe 'Yes'... Maybe 'No' "

Worn Collars

Part Twenty-Six

"Maybe 'Yes'... Maybe 'No' "

            “Pick up one (the next) wisp of folded printed paper and...” (Part Twenty-Five) just... slow down a minute.  NOT that I actually slow down.  No.  As I have noted previously, this ‘all’ is ‘all done’... ‘very fast’.  VERY FAST.  But that is not my issue of this moment.  So I slow down.
            The next wisp is the next ‘rare book’ and I keep them handy.  And there is always enough of them ‘incoming’ to always handy... keep them.  I have never run out of ‘old’ (rare) books... “I found”.  So... “the next” always.

            Let’s see what we have THIS TIME.  “Oh dear... and it is dear... a ‘dear’ little booklet (pamphlet).  And TWO copies of it TOO!  “Oh no.”  Or... “Oh no?”.  Okay... and ‘two for two’ meaning I must go to two directions or places for this one pamphlet that I have... two copies of.
            Is that alright?  May I have two copies of an old (rare) book?  I can have... but may I have?  And “Why?”.  May I.

            AND... back to Mr. Zinman***... too (direction or place number two).  Mr. Zinman says... as  frustrated notice... “I learned later in life that the knowledge you need to collect books as a beginner is far more complex than, say, stamps, or coins or matchbooks, for that matter” (page 5).
            “For that matter” may be expanded to ALL old books, decorative arts, fine arts, historic objects... and  “Ahhhh...” ‘et al’... in the unknown design galaxies beyond (for example “collectibles”).  The key chosen word is his ‘knowledge’.  Yes... one does find helpful... with ALL of this... ‘knowledge’ (best left further NOT defined).  I agree... but differ for I feel this ‘knowledge’ is a block one may sit on while one... “actually”.
            What is “actually” for “collect books as a beginner”... and veteran expert... dealer.. of old (rare) books?  The... ‘actually’ is of a ‘there is a vast plain... I overlook’ from a ‘sitted’ on blocks of (rambling waste deep waste heap accumulated disorganized iota funky factoid) knowledge.  That ‘actually’ is the ‘big picture’ that one (beginner or veteran) uses to ‘actually’ figure out ‘what is a rare book’.  The big plains; Americana, American literature... for example.  “Pacific Rim”, “Africa”, “SPACE”, “Mysteries”... to notice others.  Vast plains on a vast plain (old rare books) (or, “ok”, a vast ‘painting’ plain... for example)... overview with I ‘sitted’ on blocks of Zinman’s “knowledge”.  That big and... that vast... is in a ‘sitted’ view... ALL THE TIME... with each wisp of folded paper.  This makes it a lot easier; I have to carry very little knowledge around with me...

***:  Michael Zinman, WHAT DOES RICHARD CHENEY READ?  Annals of Collecting : 6, No place (Ardsley, NY?), 2014, page 5.

            In the back, dark, under the eves... flashlighted... ‘old papers’ “I SEE” ‘in there’.  NO:  I said this is done very... very fast.  The furtive glance of the knowledge blocks of sitted-view of the... vast plains ... of the vast plain...:  It is a logical and deductive process done very fast on one’s hands and knees in a dark attic crawl spaces behind a flashlight.
            It’s a gas... doing it****.  And to do this... one needs more than ‘knowledge’.  “Knowledge” is ‘spot application’ applied AFTER... the “I” know where “IT” (the old rare book) “IS” on the vast plain... of vast plains... I, ‘sitted’ overview.
            You get it?  Right?  Zinman’s a nice guy but... I’ve been behind the flashlight a long time... so... “ahhhh...” that’s what I “use” first.  The big picture.  He uses it too but, due to the ‘on hands and knees’ factors that separate dealers from collectors... you get it.  Right?  So... like... I’m ‘in there’ in the dark... with “It’s a GAS” attic creeping... or, like, desk drawer plundering or like ... “on the shelf in the back of the garage” (Part Twenty-Three) “YEAH!”... and it is barely a furtive glance that... going back to the pamphlet duo... I SEE “South Windham, Me.” as the imprint... AFTER... “what?” the front wrapper block letters printed in GOLD reading “LOST AND AFOUND” with “E. M. N.” under and ‘in gold’ too....
            Two (directions and places) are merging into one?  Look at it from my vantage.  I find one copy... one day... and... a decade later... find a ‘second copy’.  Both are found by ‘on hands and knees’ ‘flashlight’.  The second one... found... on the vast plain... is “I ALREADY KNOW”.
            Bummer?  No.  Comes with the territory.  I have even found two copies of something dated 1714 two different times in two different ‘where ever’ in their respective ‘two different’ garrets.  “Oh... Hell... it is?”.

**** :  To further this ‘It’s a gas’ I suggest the ‘this blog’ post titled “Mice!  I Hate Mice” that opens with a charming farmyard ephemera (rare book) picker purloin and continues with a ‘what is all this?’ treasure trove buttress of remarkable depth.  The label for this post is: Mice! I Hate Mice.  Originally the post was given as a lecture.  And... originally the picker purloin vignette was drawn for my first book “IN A GIVEN AREA”.  That book is now a rare book so “good luck with that” and... the picker’s purloin, in that book, is longer with more detail about the purloined paper and its sale... all done and recorded as a ‘very fast’.

            Please realize that it has taken this day... like... TWENTY YEARS to actually get these two copies of “LOST AND FOUND” ‘together” (side by side).  Why?  Because, simply, the ‘vast plain’ factor did not ‘make it worth it’ (they are ‘not good enough’ as ‘rare’ (books) ‘Americana’... to... ‘for me’ to CARE.  NONE THE LESS they are ‘fair and square’ ‘good quality’ ‘rare books’.  I never hesitated on that.  Just a little busy on the day to day so only now today do I ... “FINALLY” ... have them ‘side by side’.  Cool.  Let us look.

            The ‘anytime’ of this (an old book – is it rare?) became, for I, a constant.  Here it is a ‘constant’; I work from ‘constantly... doing this’.  So... the wrappers, the printing, the pamphlet size, the pamphlet format all ... suggest a ‘require further investigation’.  I do.  Usually, upon flashlight finding, such an iota as this is ‘marked’ meaning... that from ‘there on’ (under the eves flashlight discovery)... I ‘track it’; I know exactly where it is.... EVEN if it’s ‘in a box’ ‘in the back’ of the truck... I ‘know’.  Sometime it gets “cab” and that means on the seat or dashboard IN ...THE... truck... CAB.  OR disaster...; a such as you “KEEPS IT”.  That is, a principal of an estate SOME HOW FOR SOME REASON... ‘keeps it’.  THAT... I do not ....ahhhh... ‘like’.  But I:
            DEAL WITH IT.
            A good offense is a good defense for this;  NO attention is even slightly suggested in any form or way that a ‘this’ “IS”.  NO... you, as Estate Principal will have to... determine by yourself that this... pamphlet duo... “I FOUND” are ...even there to ‘find’.

            But that is all behind us and I am ‘sitted’ at my book room desk.  Moving past the title page, I denote the frontis portrait of Mr. Gillman whom... this pamphlet is about.  I discover another ‘picture’ way toward the end of the pamphlet of... a man holding on to a sinking sailboat.  I review the author’s (?) initials, the ‘copyright’, the preface, the “HEY”....:  That the beat up copy has the full author’s name written in ink above the initials on the title page “THANK YOU” and I notice at the head (top) of that title page too a faint pencil “B. W. Gilman” (note single ‘L’ in that name) whose name is very close to being the same as the ‘who this book is about’.  Finally, I discern while examining the ‘CONTENTS’ page that chapter VII is “Seventeen hours on Sebago Lake”. 

            Sebago Lake is a big Maine lake ‘above’ Portland and that...I consider... very fast... to be a social-economic well positioned Maine lake meaning it is a, well, ‘money’ lake.  A literate lake.  A ‘care about’ lake.  An old (historic) Maine lake.  A... ‘not much written / printed about it’ rare book lake.  A... “this pamphlet has a whole chapter (in this ...narrative... of  William G. Gillman...) (Bill Gilman?) about Sebago lake?”.  “Gonna have to read that.  This.  It.
            I do.
            Oh... ponderous.  The short version is that Mr. Gillman is a wife beating drunkard who... out on Sebago Lake during the day in his sailboat... tips over the boat and clings to it all night...  in a tempest.  While at that... he prays to God and ...offers to... among other willing to jettison baggage, stop beating his wife and being a drunkard with too... the promise to forever do God’s work IF he is spared.
            He is.  He is rescued in the morning.
            Somehow... this Sebago Lake drama and ‘see God’ conversion... after the author compiled the narrative... is... in South Windam, Maine... ‘brought to press’ and printed as a... rare book.

            Got it?
            On the big vast plain I overview ‘sitted’ on blocks of Zinman’s knowledge.  It (this rare book pamphlet) is of the smaller plain “Americana”.  It is that.  It is a “MAINE” that (Americana) too.  It is a Sebago Lake ‘narrative account’.  NOT MUCH AROUND for Sebago Lake narratives.  Who cares.  No one?  Mostly... excepting a few Maine rare book collectors AND a few Maine book collecting bibliomaniacs.  THAT’S GOOD ENOUGH:  The pamphlets can be sold... especially as there is ‘no copy located’ (actual copy known or bibliographic reference citing ‘it’; this pamphlet).  Soooo....:

            “NEXT!”  I am done except for ‘picking a price (for sale) off of my rare book room ceiling and... the ‘do I keep the two together?’.  I do... I guess.  One has the crispy perfect collector grade condition and the other one ‘fills out’ the author’s name and narrative subject’s name while it also allows for full inspection of the narrative without having to ‘touch’ the perfect one.  This (keep the two copies together) is a ‘good way to go’ and most collectors and dealers are receptive to this.

            “I am done”?  NO.  I want you to ‘another (old rare) book’ “kick the can down the road” before I... Arlington’s old books, et al:  “Oh... that poor housekeeper; a nice Maine girl, does not stand a chance does she”.  But YOU?  Your getting better at this?  Huh?  Maybe ‘Yes’... Maybe ‘No’.


            The opening photographs of this post... are a ‘well touched’ of themselves.  Their ‘vast plain’ subject is Maine Décor;  Maine decorating.  They show the subtle nuance one ‘must’ to the eye to not appear phony when at it (doing Maine décor).
            Lobster traps... are actually a delicate-to-‘balance’ when used.  They quickly cross the line to tacky... ‘dirty-gross’ and ‘ignore’.  The first photograph shows a spectacular ‘good’ lobster trap decoration.  Old traps in a pyramid with a red picnic table ‘attached’.  Iconic.  The traps are iconic.  The old traps are iconic.  The weathered gray wood is iconic.  The form (a pyramid) is... classical... iconic.  The companion picnic table (a design form) is iconic.  The fire engine red glossy paint on the table is iconic.  The interplay of the two colors and two forms are iconic.  Nothing needs to be added... or taken away.  “CLEAN” as a decoration one is hard pressed to equal... using old lobster traps.  One must understand that this decorative arrangement is not an accident.  Someone ‘planned’ (designed) this and then executed it; ‘thought of’, ‘assembled’, ‘built’... and “DONE”.
            A few feet away they ‘touched’.  Very Maine.  The coin operated soft drink ‘machine’ standing alone... is “ugly” so... they... stacked two traps beside it.  This ‘pulls’ the ‘the worst piece of crud’ “IN” to the décor.  It brings it “IN” “TOO”.  Subtle.  VERY SUBTLE... but again:  Someone did this.  It is not an accident.  They ‘thought of’, ‘assembled’, ‘built’ TOO.  And it works.  It ‘brings it (the soft drink machine) up’ to ‘ok”.
            The whole décor composition is beautifully simple and... coastal Maine ‘on target’ with no hint of pushing, no in-face, no ‘including I’, no... ‘no, no’ and is truly “DONE” too.  One cannot fake that and...with lobster trap décor... most of what one sees that; fake.  These two photographs show a remarkably ‘well done right’ that is too... not fake.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Twenty-Five - "Comprehension"

Worn Collars

Part Twenty-Five


            Established, after twenty three chapters (blog post parts) of ‘cider straight from my cellar’s barrel” (are you gassy?), I now feel I may return to ... Chapter (Part) One with the ‘rotten man’ and he being a ‘rotten book collector’ including... his attendant housekeeper and
            He; Arlington St. John, the ‘is dead’.  And
            “SHE” inherits; the housekeeper inherited ‘all of it’ (Arlington’s estate) and
            The reader is now ‘of backgrounded enough’ to understand that I...
            Purloin this
            Bibliomaniac’s estate?

            With reservation?  Obviously I had ‘reserved’ a ‘spot’ for I... ‘to do this’.  It
            Is true?  Or....  No:  I have already written twenty-three chapters ...paving the road ‘to do this’ for you so
            Just an ‘over iced smidgen’ more (Part Two):

            “Like***, put out a catalog that had, among other items, 300 postcards depicting New England factories priced at $900, and another listing of some 350 brochures, plat maps and other ephemera on the development of suburbia in the west,  This was somewhat more formidable, both is size, importance and price.  He had this at 27K or 32K – I don’t remember which.  I mention this and will get back to it, as I consider these listings to be of the utmost importance in your understanding of how to go about developing a successful rare book business, as well as understanding”...

            That this is what I do... so.... I guess before I screw the nice Maine girl (housekeeper) out of Arlington’s ‘old books’, et al, I should take you exactly there too; to I ‘sitted’ at my desk and:
            “What are you looking for?  What are you doing?”  These queries... are answered above in the Zinman quote and defined in the quote as “the utmost importance”.... “in your understanding”.
            The vision is Americana.  The bibliomanic obsession is Americana.  The commercial market is Americana.  “You are not going to do this selling modern firsts on ABE, Amazon and eBay” (Zinman, ibid, pg. 5).  Is Emily Post Americana?  Is Emily Dickinson Americana?  Is Tom Sawyer Americana?  Is Huckleberry Finn Americana?  Are three hundred postcards of New England factories Americana?  Is this what I actually do?
            Yes or No... or... “You GO” (Part One).

*** :  Michael Zinman, WHAT DOES RICHARD CHENEY READ?  Annals of Collecting : 6, No place (Ardsley, NY?), 2014, page 4.

            I am tired of it (all that is outside of bibliomania) but I fled a half century ago.  And die across the borderlands and in the ‘of bibliomania’  If I die doing at my desk this ‘it’ I:

            Pick up one wisp of folded printed paper and... by then... of furtive glance (Part Fourteen)... I have already ‘seeking’ seen ‘it’ and then only follow in delightful child’s play... ‘sitted’ in my children’s sandbox of an ‘old (rare) bookroom desk’.  The opiated frolic of the furtive glance now perished, I must ‘am alone’ with the ...details... I will call them... of the furtive found so... to no old bookman’s surprise... relish my raking eye overview of the ‘printed wrapper’ and my obsessive turn to the ...title page.  The imprint at the bottom is first:  “WHERE WAS THIS PRINTED?”.
            I start with that “THIS” discerning it having been printed “for the author” in “Exeter, Maine”.  He... the author... is of.. SOUTH Exeter... Maine.  “OH metropolis... of Maine”.
            “Where the fuck is that.” say.
            And should say because an imprint of that remote address is... worth saying that for.  Saying “Thank you” do too to... your appendage; your smart phone affirms “Exeter, Maine” IS... “remote”.  It is “remote” back then, today and... to this day.  

            My eye rolls upward on the title page to denote the author “BE THERE ONE?”.  Yes; a “L. S. French” is “By”.  And it says “By” too.  Then my eye continues upward to the title.  NOT the big words title “AMERICAN GINSENG”.  No... the twiddle ‘bottom part’ title: “for the ginseng hunter and grower, with full cultural directions and illustrations from life, with a brief sketch of its early history”.  LEARN TO... notice these twiddle part titles, READ the twiddle part titles and... comprehend... the twiddle part titles.  Right here is a mental and physical bridge to cross for you... old book person:  “READ” is different from “comprehend”.  I work with and around many who can ‘read’ but do not ‘comprehend’ what they ‘read’.  This is a very... very... big bridge to cross. Particularly the ‘small print’ ‘points’.

            So, here, in the reading, I am delighted to comprehend that the author includes a ‘brief sketch of its early history’ of, well, hunting American Ginseng in the (Exeter) Maine woods...?  DOES HE?  And I will find out... and...:  Either way... “cool”.  Then the next upward the my eye goes to the little bit bigger twiddle title line reading “A... Practical... Guide”.  “GUIDE” means this guy (the author) endeavors, by writing what he intends you to read and... UNDERSTAND... (comprehend), a ‘his prose craft’ GUIDE... and a ‘practical guide’ it is intended to be TOO... to this

            “AMERICAN GINSENG”.  This is the long ago by my furtive glance... denoted banner title that... well... both words caught my eye... created my absolute attention of interest ‘in this’... old book (old pamphlet in printed paper wrappers).  MY... eye... read... those two words and ...comprehended... that both words...: “American” and “Ginseng” spoke of a ‘rare topic to find ANYTHING printed ‘about’ in addition noting that “American” carries ‘Americana’ TOO and the ‘Ginseng’ is ‘of natural history interest’ (“botany”?)... especially American natural history... TOO... and I
            Did that way back in furtive glance so... back to “GUIDE” and ‘Brief sketch... history’ and author “by” and imprint and
            “This is great!” is the first ‘is this a good rare book?’ from the field report.  Then I start to really play with the ...old (rare) book...:  I ‘go through it’ discovering a ‘tipped in’ (glued or pasted in) ‘broadside’ at the front inside cover and another tipped broadside slip at the rear front free end paper with this... scrap of paper... denoting “South Exeter” ‘June 28th (in pencil) 1905... a ginseng order-from-the-author directly printed.... PRINTED!... wisp WITH a forty word (?) PRINTED AUTHOR SIGNED pencil note covering the bottom third... with this tid-bit extracting a “Yikes!” and “Cool!” from I... at my book room desk.  

            Further flipping reveals the photographic printed plate illustrations of the title quarry AND that there is considerable (44 printed pages) of “on and on” tiny print text TOO... so... “Like what does that say?” meaning...
            “Probably I should read this” cover to cover... and... comprehend what I “READ” to determine “IF” this ‘is as good (quality of content value) as it appears to be.  I do not read it “TODAY”.

            And just for the record... how do I ‘read this’ anyway.  I generally, having in fact hundreds of thing to ‘READ’ and “comprehend”... and NOT considering this to be a burden... poke at ‘em along.  For example, a few ‘neat things’ (old rare books like this Ginseng pamphlet) are ‘around’ my work areas in the buildings so I, when I sit down for a moment from, like, stacking firewood... or ‘same’ I... read a few pages of... a this... or a that...  That works real well.
            OR:  I could just take it with me to the Mall... Food Court.. and read a few “SOME” there.  No one has ever bothered me ‘doing this’.  And, for the record again; ‘comprehension’ of what I read... is “HIGH” at the mall (good working conditions in fact).

            Cool.  Huh.  But what’s the most ‘cool huh’.  FINDING THE PAMPHLET.  And knowing (comprehending) right there that this is good (“GREAT”) “no copy located” old rare book Americana.  None the less... I do this... at my desk... with these printed wisps I find... is what I do.  Slowly, steadily, happily.  For ever... I have done this...  

Soooo... Getting this American Ginseng ‘thing’ to ‘on hold’ it is ‘set off’ and... usually... ‘lost’ (in my old rare books) for a year or so, chanced upon, read, delight in again, lost again, around again, found again.  Priced?  Anywhere, all along the line it has a ‘price’ “to you” should... you ask.  Generally you... and Mr. & Mrs. No One... does... not ask.  “What is the price?” you say.  It is “I decide”.  There is no one for me to ‘ask’. The word ‘comprehend has a lot to do with that... “Ah....”... but I don’t sweat that;  It’s about the ...rare book... not the money.  If the book is (comprehend) good enough and content good enough, physical rarity good enough and ‘attractive’ good enough... the ‘it all’ of ‘money’ takes care of its self.  Maybe one day it (this pamphlet about American Ginseng) “turns green” (“sells”.)  And... as I have long, long said... while seated at my old (rare) book room desk... “It is surprising what sells”.  Actually... it is not ‘surprising’ presuming one ...comprehends... Mr. Zinman’s helpful insight of “to be of the utmost importance in your understanding”.