I cannot resist telling you something about those stationery stores of my Viennese childhood. Plastics had not yet been invented, so everything in those magical shops was real. Wood was wood, paper was paper, and all the toys were made out of real substances and painted by hand. When I think back on my early visits to these places I often fall into reveries so profound that they practically amount to protracted nostalgic seizures. I remember all the blond, the brunette, and the dark pencils, neatly stacked in their boxes, from which emanated the decent reassuring odors of cedarwood, and I tell you that even the smell of the real organic glue that held all those clean, virginal pads and books so firmly together used to give my young heart such a thrill of expectancy, such a feeling of unutterable joy, that the mere recollection of it all is like a benign immersion in a health-giving stream.Alexander King, Is There Life After Birth? (1963) page 22.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
The Stationery Stores of Alexander King's Viennese Childhood
[This passage will be particularly resonant for Sean and for Michael.]