Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost....and then FOUND

I am a wannabe scavenger.  When I go for a walk, or am out in public, I tend to look down so I can find fun stuff.  Money's great, of course; usually the payoff is pretty meager, though.  :D  I come by this tendency naturally - my dad was a champion scavenger.  And he was truly lucky!  More than once he happened across a $20 bill just by keeping his eyes to the ground.

Apparently there are LOTS of folks out there who make it a hobby to find ephemeral items while out and about - there's a whole magazine devoted to it!  Are you familiar with  "FOUND"?
I had never seen the magazine but discovered the book(s) in the bookstore.  Upon opening them it felt like Davy Rothbart, the author/curator, was a kindred spirit.

About 10 years ago Mr. Rothbart found a note on his car that was meant for someone named "Mario".  The note read, "Mario - I @#$%* hate you (expletives deleted) you said you had to work then whys your car HERE at HER place?? You're a @#$%* liar I hate you I @#$%* hate you - Amber P.S. Page me later"

And that was the start of it.  He then started handing out flyers inviting others to send in found items.  In the forward to the book, he writes, "At first I didn't hear anything.  Then, suddenly, I did.  Found notes came in from as far away as Alaska and Bangladesh.  They were by turns beautiful, hilarious and heartbreaking.  Once I'd gathered a decent stack of material and combed through my own collection of found stuff, my friend Jason Bitner and I went to work for three nights cutting and pasting with scissors and tape and put together the first issue of  FOUND magazine."

The books are compilations of the best of that magazine.  And it's absolutely fascinating what has been found by people all over the world!  Crazy love letters, grocery lists, snapshots, notes passed in class, parts of diaries - all of the detritus that we think no one else will ever see but somehow escapes our grasp.  There are also bits of books and magazines, advertisements and other things tossed for no apparent reason.

If you are interested in the most basal type of ephemera - the type that is worth nothing monetarily but can make your day -  I highly suggest picking up these books.  They appeal to the voyeur in all of us and offer a tiny peek into our (sometimes scary, but always interesting) collective consciousness.  You will be entertained for hours.

I have made some ATCs with found items - not old love notes (yet), but dirty labels:


  1. Ah yes - I love Found (and I'm loving your blog :)) - I tend to collect old letters that I find on junk markets - you might find this one interesting:
    I've got another letter in my stash about a failing love affair - but I can't seem to find it but I'll let you know when I post it.
    I'm always picking shopping lists, notes and flyers out of shopping trolleys and things. I really think I have a problem! ha ha

  2. Thank you Paula! :D It's nice to hear that others find grocery lists interesting too. I like to imagine their routine as they plan what they're going to buy and subsequently make with the food - just a little peek into others' lives. :D