"After reading Rebecca McClanahan’s “Book Marks,” in The Best American Essays 2001—which, in part, engages the ways in which a reader’s written marginalia (not to mention sloughed-off bodily detritus wedged into the book’s crotch) can serve to converse with the primary text—I was inspired to write a great failure of an essay comprised solely of imagined marginalia (and detritus) lurking among the pages of Borges’ Labyrinths. For some reason, in this essay, I decided that a chain of spitballs should run down the book’s inner hinge, forming a speed bump between 'Avatars of the Tortoise' and 'The Mirror of Enigmas.'"


"When recently reengaging The Best American Essays 2001, I tried, as a reader...to stare into the margins, and then beyond the margins. To, eventually, turn the page, where I found, of course, more text, each subsequent essay girdled by the one preceding it, each serving as the marginalia to the other. What follows is an essay of record, a collection of lines evoking sentences of primary text costumed in marginalia’s clothes. The essay is comprised of one line from each of the essays included in BAE 2001, in order. The first sentence is from the first essay, the second from the second, and so on. The last line is from Kathleen Norris’ introduction, and the brackets are mine. I hope it serves as a celebration."

For Frank's found-list-essay from BAE2001, the best part of the review (I've read it aloud three times already and now feel like reading it at an open mike), read the rest here!

P.S. I'm currently reading Frank's wonderful The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food after taking an ecstatic tour through Flagstaff's food (and drink) with him and friends last month. I can't recommend it highly enough, and it's currently "#1 New Release in Gastronomy Essays" on Amazon. I love that Amazon ranks gastronomy essays.

AuthorJohn Proctor