Thursday, January 24, 2008

Message in A Bottle

Now that that song's stuck in your head ...

I saw this article by Michael Swanwick and thought what a cool idea it was.  It has the romanticism of childhood when you would read about pirates and castaways and start combing the beaches for ancients messages in bottles.  It also has a cool vibe to it - something meaningful and unique.
Here's why and how he did it.

Photo from Flogging Babel.

Everybody needs a hobby and this is mine. I'll write a short-short story, print it out, and place it in a bottle. This particular bottle once contained Knappogue Castle Irish whiskey, one of the great tipples of the world. It may even (I forget) be the bottle that I brought back from my first trip overseas in 1982, back when each bottle was individually numbered by hand.

After the story is placed in the bottle, I sign and date the glass with a diamond-tipped pen. Then I cork the bottle and Marianne covers the top with sealing wax. After writing a letter of provenance, I destroy every copy, physical or electronic, other than the one inside the bottle. It is now, in the original, unspoiled sense of the word, unique.

Finally, I give it away. Usually to a charity auction or such, but sometimes to a friend. The owner of the bottle, whoever he or she is, can either read the story or else possess the object -- but cannot do both.

Cool idea, huh?  Then I thought about it a little more.  Let's see.  If do that to every party or event I go and hand these out ... I wondered how many of my friends would appreciate such a gift.  How many of them would get it.  How many of them would think I am a cheap biatch with narcissistic tendencies and delusions of grandeur.

Perhaps Michael Swanwick has friends of stronger mettle and substance but I can count on one hand mine who would get and appreciate the gesture. 

Ah, romance is indeed dead I think.  At least the kind of romance I appreciate.  Most of my friends would prefer a box of chocolate to a roll of verbal candy crafted by hand.