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The surrealism of everyday life


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An upcoming piece in the LRB will report that Tom Verlaine, who passed last year, left a library of over 50,000 books.

Okay, so we now know what he did with his spare time, but he seems to have said it was cheap to store them. That’s the surreal part.

I had thought he lived in downtown Manhattan, not Idaho, so excuse me?

Maybe “Marquee Moon” paid even for that (I have a vivid and precise understanding of the space required).

But I look forward to the full article. Maybe he had storage units in Queens.

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I uncovered the letters my dad wrote to his family during WWII - he spent several years in Egypt working for a British construction company who built bases for the armed forces.  Fortunately, most of the letters are typed although it's single-spaced and on onion skin. In this one, you can see where the censor had his way with one word.

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No, no. Okay he was older than me, but old bookstores staying open late? Cheap books? Offset press, blah blah?

Collecting 50K books is beyond that. I would not want that many books. I have around 4K, could go to 10K if I lived long enough. But we are looking at something compulsive here.

50K books is not, absolutely not “a reminder of different days.”

There may be a good explanation and I look forward to seeing it.

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It's funny, cuz just this morning I was (without having a fever) (that I know) contemplating why the lyrics to "Marquee Moon" (the song) or "The Arms of Venus de Milo" are great, and the lyrics to "Roundabout" or "Yours Is No Disgrace" suck -- even though none of them is immediately comprehensible -- and I decided that T. Verlaine's lyrics have very tight specific images whereas Anderson's (if my assumption is right that he wrote the lyrics) are just random brain farts that might mean something to the author but have nothing for anyone else to peg anything on.

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13 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

If Tom Verlaine were like you and me he wouldn't have been Tom Verlaine.

Right, not like me in so many ways, but I have collected thousands of books. And I am aware of the scale of libraries collected by others. This is way, way out there, so I am excited to know why.

He was like me in taking the M14D but he would (pretend to) be asleep.

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10 hours ago, Wilfrid said:

Right, not like me in so many ways, but I have collected thousands of books. And I am aware of the scale of libraries collected by others. This is way, way out there, so I am excited to know why.

Maybe there are just A WHOLE LOT of very slim chapbooks....

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Posted (edited)

Last night, I watched a documentary from 2019 called "All We've Got", about the death/redefinition of lesbian spaces, and I was astounded to see myself twice in the background of some archival footage.

I'm still embarrassed about how dorky I looked at 22.

Edited by StephanieL
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