Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Signed Mixology and For Show Mixology

Signed Mixology & For Show Mixology 

Adrian Matejka's Mixology is one of the books included in our program's collection of 100 volumes of poetry published since 2000.

Yesterday, when I placed all 100 books from our collection on a table and looked over them, I was pleased and surprised to see that my signed volume of Mixology , which Adrian had autographed after a reading in June 2009, had finally come back to me. You see, my Mixology had somehow been growing legs over the last year and continually walking away.

Actually, to be honest, I can't complain too much...not too much...about the way that the book kept leaving my office. Some of the young brothers around campus knew that Adrian had a fairly new book out, but, the typical college budget and interests don't prioritize purchasing contemporary volumes of poetry.

So when dudes stopped by my office to talk and saw the book displayed on my shelf, we'd have a recurring exchange.
Fella: That's Matejka's book?

Me: Yep.

Fella: Can I borrow it for a minute?

Me: If you plan to bring it back. I mean, folks say they want to borrow it then forget that 'borrow for a minute' doesn't mean keep forever.

Fella: Yeah, I'll bring it back.
This went on with about 5 to 6 different guys. The dudes (and I know some of you are reading this) kept the book in total for longer than the book stayed with me. It's cool though. Plus, it's no way I'm keeping a book from young brothers interested in reading a volume by one of our own resident poets.

Since "Signed Mixology," as I was compelled to label it, was always checked out and unavailable during times that we were hosting a "browsing session" featuring all our 100 books in our collection, I decided to purchase another Mixology...for show. Needless to say, that display book, nicknamed "For Show Mixology," was eventually borrowed often as well.

Adrian's presence on campus, plus the hip-hop inflected title of his work, makes Mixology a popular book at the browsing sessions. But there's a slight problem with having Signed Mixology and For Show Mixology there together, and part of the problem (sigh) can be attributed to my ego.

The smart collector's thing to do would be to store Signed Mixology away somewhere only to be brought out for special occasions. That's what a smart collector would do. But the dude in me that likes the feeling of street cred can't resist the conversations that emerge when my students attend the browsing session and figure out that Adrian addressed comments on the title page to me, and he also added little drawings in the front.

Seeing Adrian's message to me in Signed Mixology causes my students and other attendees at our events to regularly and mistakenly over-estimate my coolness. Thanks Adrian.

I guess I could and should get Adrian to go ahead and autograph For Show Mixology, right? I've considered that. But I can't trust Adrian. He might make the mistake of saying something cooler in For Show Mixology than he did in Signed Mixology.

In other words, right now, I prefer that For Show Mixology has the inferiority complex.

100 Volumes of Poetry

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