The Doodles of Nice Writers
When writers exit stage proper after a studying on the 92nd Road Y’s Unterberg Poetry Heart, they could really feel satisfaction or aid, elation or the sense of a job nicely finished. Writers being writers, they could really feel that they didn’t deserve the viewers’s applause — or that they deserved extra of it. What occurs subsequent is at all times the identical. I ask them to signal our visitor e book.
This has been a backstage custom for many years. Open the primary web page of the primary quantity, which dates to 1964, and also you’ll discover Vladimir Nabokov’s signature and drawing of a butterfly.
On stage, you get an creator’s persona. Within the visitor e book, you get his or her character. Some take up complete pages, others make tiny marks within the nook beside the crease. Typically writers will riffle the pages earlier than signing, to see who has come earlier than and what they’ve stated. Or to see what they wrote the final time they visited. The gathering of visitor books is a chronicle and household album, a ceremony of passage and reunion.
Our stage is darkish, for now, however in my workplace drawer there’s a brand-new quantity of the visitor e book. It’s 13 inches tall, 10 inches extensive, and certain in burgundy leather-based. The paper is archive weighted. Its pages are clean and ready.
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