A Public Intimacy (A Life Through Scrapbooks)
‘...The key for me has been rhythm since so far back that I’ve forgotten why, or when. Probably somewhere just prior to my teens, when I was twelve and stepped, tipped into the resonant chamber, or chasm, that was jazz...’
from an interview with Paul Buck by Javier Marchán (October 2007)
A Public Intimacy (A Life Through Scrapbooks) is a way of reviewing an archive. Cuttings, clippings and comments, the stuff of scrapbooks, started in 1964, make up part of the author’s archive, the information that threads through the library, events and life explored.
The book does not fit easily into any genre or category, blurring notions of essay or biography, or ideas employed in fiction writing and other art forms. Traversing paths pursued in visual art is a key factor, even outside the more obvious image pages. Collage is part of the process, with cuttings scrolling vertically alongside the text, forming an adjacent narrative.
In part an account of the times, the counter-currents and counter-culture of the last four decades, in part an exploration of the nature of scrapbooks and of collections, the book forms as much a counter-intellectual narrative of the times, as counter-biography, revealing as much as the writer wants, playing into the hands of fiction as much as any novel.
Paul Buck works as a poet, writer, playwright, artist, performer, translator and teacher in the visual arts. As well as founding the seminal magazine Curtains, which blasted French contemporary writing into British culture, he is the author, editor and translator of numerous published and unpublished works, appended in this book as Selected Context.