The current blogging phenomenon has enriched the practice of pen pals on so many levels. When we used to have to wait weeks for a response, we instantly share thoughts and ideas with hundreds of international friends. My life has certainly been brightened and enriched by this amazing new form of multi-faceted pen palling.
This TCM presentation was a special treat, since my own DVD copy happens to be a dreaded "pan-and-scanned" version, which I absolutely abhor. (Please don't get me started on this subject.) Anyway, the lovely widescreen presentation was crisp, colorful and as the director intended.
The proprietorship of my dreams is that of Marks & Co., which is no longer there, by the way, but is sadly replaced by a wine bar, and a plaque marking the former shop. I can see myself contentedly overseeing row upon row of books, tucked in this cozy nook of a shop, filled with the scent of must, dust, age, and floors of wood.
There is a touching scene in which Hanff (played by the delightful Anne Bancroft) receives a book of poetry in the mail from Frank Doel (perfectly performed by Anthony Hopkins), in which Doel has tenderly inscribed a message on the flyleaf.
Contrary to what I may have implied, by my disappointment in the second hand copy of Charles Simic's Early Poems, being completely hacked up by words being crossed out and notes written, not only in the margins, but over the text, I actually do love to find endearing inscriptions in the flyleaves of books. They are small personal treasures left behind for us to enjoy. I must remember to inscribe each gift book I give this Christmas.
Here is one particularly romantic treat, I found inscribed in the front of a leather bound first edition of Renascence and Other Poems, 1917, by Edna St. Vincent Millay, last summer in my favorite second hand bookshop, you know, the one with the creaky hardwood floors.
Life seeming only half-lived,
Futile, forlorn, forsaken,
Die swiftly into the moonlight,
Be born again in this pages,
Languid and lovely forever,
The idol of a dreaming youth,
His Lady of Satin and Silver.