OTS aka TWA aka TLA

Last night my friends the Maroubrans asked me to join a monthly comp they're instituting. To be called OTS perhaps, the prize goes, by mutual agreement, to the best street find during the month in question. Or it might be called Freegans. If that's the word. Anyway the streets are a perpetual harvest and a moveable feast if you want to look at them that way. And so on the way to the laundry this morning, on a small old-fashioned low red-painted concrete ledge that runs along the frontage of Smith Street Motor Repairs, there were two books. My heart leapt up. As you can imagine: the first one was W G Sebald's Austerlitz, which I have read and even bought a copy of once, but didn't until today own. What happened was, we took a friend's copy away on a holiday to Seal Rocks, it rained, the tent flooded, Austerlitz was inside, it blew up to twice its normal size and then turned to smeary brown pulp. So I had to buy Peter another copy, even though he demurred and said he probably wouldn't read it again. Bet he will though. The other book was The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. I haven't read this, nor any other work by her - but I'm intrigued. So far as I can tell, it's a novel, but there are bona fide photographs of real people between pages 177 and 178, as if the fictional characters in the family chronicle that the book is have, or had, real existences in the world. Also in this copy, at the back, on the very last page, is a list written with a black felt tip pen. I didn't discover this until after I brought the books home and had I seen it at the time, might have left them there. It reads:

- clean
- vacuum
- ring real estate
- return library DVD's
- collect shirts
- dinner

Well I think it's bibs, it might be bits; mysterious either way.

BTW TWA stands for three word acronym and to decode TLA you substitute letter for word. They are also possible alternate titles for the comp. OTS is on the street.


artandmylife said...

A fun competition! The books you found remind me of bookcrossing http://www.bookcrossing.com/. I have 5 books on my shelf ready for "release" but I haven't got around to leaving them anywhere. I have had a request for a "controlled release" of one of them to Sri Lanka which I really must do.

Elisabeth said...

Hi Martin

Here's a long comment in response to your find. The Stone Diaries. It has been a meaningful book for me. Rather than break the etiquette rule for blog comments, I'll send you my thoughts as an attachment in an email.
Anyhow, I can't think of two better books to find. My find today outside of Target in Camberwell, though I didn't take it, was a child's woolly hat, in pink cable knit with a knitted rose on the side.
Ever since I was little I've loved finding things, but I try to resist picking things up now, especially when I don't really need them. It tugs at my memories of a deprived childhood when I did disgusting things like eat the half finished lollies I'd find on the street. I like this competition.