Borges has a lot to answer for

When I fall into conversation about the origin of the Knicker Drawer Note Books, at some point I'm going to mention Borges, the blind Argentinian library-lover.

I have ruthlessly exploited the ideas of Borges in the design and the construction of the Knicker Drawer books. At one time, heavily under the influence of The Book of Sand, I constructed elaborate and intricate page-foldings, inserts, tucks and turns that went this way or that way to conceal and reveal: you could be surprised by your own knowledge, tucked away into the pages.

A batch of these strange page-turners were hungrily bought by oral story-tellers: one told me that the books, in their ridiculous impracticality, were ridiculously practical. When creating a story that needed a jolt of inspiration, they could go to a filled notebook, flip apart the pages, and out would pop a note, a character sketch, a moment of dialogue that set them thinking in a different direction. Maybe the donkey could get out of the valley after all, by climbing the rope? It all made sense!

Most of the time, I no longer make books with too complex folds, tucks, and layers. I used one such book myself and, like The Book of Sand, I could never find the damn page again. The one with the telephone number I'd scribbled too hastily and needed, now.

But you may have a book that bears a memory of that time. If you have pages that tuck, fold, wrap and turn, then enjoy the inconvenience to squirrel something away.

And if you cannot find it again, blame Borges.

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