Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Must be fangirl day

My son's stepmother just returned from a vacation in London and Paris. They meet every Sunday morning for coffee. Her recent trip provided another source of longing for him and, by extension, for me.  It is the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, located on Paris' left bank.  A place with dizzying literary history, it sounds so welcoming, so civilized, so irresistible.  That is the shop exterior, circa 2004, shown above.  Below is the poet's corner.  Huge sighs and offerings to the gods of good things that our world contains such bounty.






On the subject of books, Netflix has three seasons (brief, British seasons) of a series called Black Books, a foolish comedy featuring possibly the world's worst shop proprietor.




Kelly Kilmer posted a reminder that February 22 was Edward Gorey's birthday. I hope belated, posthumous wishes are being accepted. Figbash, above, may be doing a precarious dance of joy in acknowledgment.





Through a string of blog links which I cannot, at the moment, retrace, I found that I share my February 8 birthday with the poet Elizabeth Bishop. The post I discovered that day spoke of how she felt her birth date was significant, that its influence may be found in her work.

As I searched for a photo to post, I learned that Boston University celebrated her with a party on February 10, Elizabeth Bishop at 100. One of the participants was Melissa Green, a poet and friend whose comments you may have seen at this site.

Melissa was mentioned this week in a news flash by New Zealand artist and writer Claire Beynon. The flash follows her Tuesday Poem post.

28 comments:

Robert the Skeptic said...

"a foolish comedy featuring possibly the world's worst shop proprietor Could he be worse than Mr. Fawlty of "Fawlty Towers"?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - Bernard Black and Basil Fawlty could have been separated at birth, only Mr. Black never even heard the word "ingratiating."

Laoch of Chicago said...

This post made me smile. When I went to school in Paris in 1983 I used to go to that bookstore all the time

Angella Lister said...

There was a sister Shakespeare and Company in NewYork for many years until Barnes and Noble moved into the neighborhood a block away. I was heartbroken when the old bookstore closed down. A piece of my young life was gone, poof. There has been nothing like it since. So now I shall dream of visiting the one that still remains in Paris. Perhaps I'll see you in the poet's corner!

Antares Cryptos said...

Marylinn, you made my day:)
Now I have this incredible urge to pack bags and go back. S&C is such an incredible, magical place.

grrl + dog said...

mm,
I think I'd like to make my own figbash..

he looks quite adorable.

T. Clear said...

Shakespeare & Company! Fond memories from a summer spent going broke in Paris....

Erin in Morro Bay said...

Ah, Shakespeare and Company! I always wished to go back to the 1920's and visit the original S&C of Sylvia Beach. Just one of many reasons it would have been fun to visit Paris in the '20's. There is a lovely book about the current Shakespeare and Company called "Time was Soft There" written several years ago by a young man who spent time working in the book shop.

Donna B said...

Oh Marylinn...First let me wish you a happy belated birthday! I will mark your special day down in my day planner.

That little book shop on Paris's left bank....OMG, it is exactly the type of little haunts I search for.

When I lived in San Bernardino, there was the neatest shop there called THE HAPPY BOOKER. I found endless hours of happy contentment finding rare treasured books.

I had a man friend who wished to buy a 45 foot sloop and sail solo around the world. He was obsessed in doing it and so I helped in his research.(This was BEFORE the internet I might add...)

I found the original account of Joshua Slocum's first solo sail around the world, printed in the 1900's (if I remember correctly).

Slocum sailed over 40,000 miles in three years in his sloop, named Spray.

The second gift I found was a DVD of Dodge Morgan (who just died in 2010) who sailed the fastest around the world in 150 days...breaking the record of over 200 days.

I found the video in Maine at LL Beans. It was horrifying watching him talk into the video camera with these monstrous 40 foot waves crashing behind the boat!

He moved to Canada and we lost touch, so I don't know if he ever attained his dream...but it sure was fun learning about sailing and finding those treasures for him.

Antares Cryptos said...

Marylinn, I have no idea what inspired me to post some links that make me smile...;)

Kass said...

You have such rich and varied interests. No wonder you write so well.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - How grand that must have been. There is probably very little about being a student in Paris that doesn't cause me to yearn...bakery, bookstore and just plain old Paris. I'm glad it brought a smile.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - If we don't meet in the courtyard, we can run into each other in the Poet's Corner. It is so sad when a remarkable haven such as the New York branch vanishes. Los Angeles has lost so many bookstores, the kind with used and out-of-print treasures at reasonable prices, the kind with overflowing corners and ill-lit alcoves. If New York has nothing to replace it, Paris may be our only choice.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares Cryptos - Oh, you are one of the fortunates, to know it first-hand. Who wouldn't want to go back? Every description I hear increases its magic...Musty Tomes R Us. Sigh.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - You could absolutely make Figbash(es). In later, retired years, sewing toys, especially Figbash, was one of Edward Gorey's happy pastimes. There are different views of his unique, er, physique in many of Mr. Gorey's works. There is another personal favorite among his creatures called The Doubtful Guest, a birdish sort who wears Converse high-tops, like Gorey did.

Marylinn Kelly said...

T - It is pleasing to hear from those of you with first-person experience...going broke in Paris must have been the easiest thing in the world. And we haven't even talked about the flea markets. Thinking what they must be like leads to hyperventilation.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Thank you for the book information. I think it would be of interest to those who know the delight of having spent time at Shakespeare and Company. Can you just imagine what vibrant place it was in the 20s? That's right - your time-travel journal. Ah, yes.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Donna - Such eclectic, open-hearted shops may be more rare, but I have to believe they exist beyond Paris. If not, we will all have to travel. I have seen places such as you describe disappear, even here in Pasadena. When one had the time and patience, just about anything could be found, as you discovered. How many books have we clutched to our hearts, racing home to lose ourselves in their pages?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares Cryptos - I believe the answer is simple: BECAUSE they make you smile. One of the joys of blog ownership.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. It seems that nearly every day, something new - a thing, a place, an idea - comes to light and I feel that I've just discovered King Tut's tomb. A sense of wonder must be one of our greatest gifts.

Antares Cryptos said...

Marylinn, I think there was a "who" involved ;)
The loss of these little bookstores is global, I return to places where they have suddenly disappeared.
Wistful longing for walking past shops and being stopped in my tracks by an unexpected "book bin", which always lead to further exploration.

Radish King said...

Have you ever read Paris Was A Woman? It's an amazing read all about Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare & Co. and Gertrude and Paris in the 20s. It's gorgeous full of art and photos and a riveting read.
xo


wv : ought

there ya go

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares Cryptos - The North Hollywood Dutton's had a book cart our front...there is a shop in Ojai that has outdoor bookcases around the outside of the shop (or did)...after hours you'd just toss your money over the wall. Or so I remember.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - No, I haven't read it and yes, I ought, I wish, I shall. Off to search availability...sometimes there are great surprises. My thanks. xo

Jayne said...

Oh my, that's my kind of bookstore! Time to go back to Paris. ;)

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - "To Paris!" seems to be the unanimous conclusion. That the shop exists, even if at a distance, makes us book-folk happy and hopeful.

T. Clear said...

Shakespeare & Company -- what a marvelous bookstore. I have an ancient address book that George Whitman gave me in 1979, with marbled end papers, all the names and addresses written in an elegant fountain-pen script. Funny that there are two sets of names, the first all carefully crossed out. We can only imagine what stories are contained therein!

Marylinn Kelly said...

T - What a gift and what a remarkable to man to count as a friend. I read just a bit about him. Oh yes, what stories must be connected to the names. Thank you for sharing your story that pulls us all a bit closer to the source.