Saturday, November 27, 2004

Evidence from the Log and the Retirement of Cancellation

When I received a lumpy envelope from Roy Arenella the other day, I'd no idea what he was sending me. Nor did I have any idea what a series of revelations it would be.

First, Roy includes a photocopy of what I take to be his mailart logbook (mine, you are reading at the moment). In it, we see the information Roy collected on an anonymous mailing to me on the subject of David Cole. He catalogs the ways in which he has tried to ensure his anonymity along with the reasons he thinks I'll figure out the identity of the sender (his unique "g" [uncapitalized], the X in "conneXions, and the Euro-crossed 7 on the envelope). We also learn that this was mailing # 462X from Arenella, which he could not have marked on the original mailing.

Roy Arenella, "Draft Log Bk" (16 and 20 Nov 2004)

On the other side of this sheet, Roy has included a short letter. For the record, Roy's mailing did serve to fool me for almost a minute after I had opened it. The mailing was just so different from his others. I thought, maybe, that someone had read my online exchanges with Roy about David Cole and had decided to surprise me with a gift. But then I noticed two pieces of information: 1. The sender had given me a copy of the catalog to the exact same David Cole exhibition Roy had mentioned to me, and 2. There was a note telling me not to worry about not responding to a note I'd received from David Cole. The kindness, the catalog, and even the quite disguised handwriting gave it away. Once I read the sticky note, the jig was up.

Also, Roy needn't worry about my wife Nancy being worried by this package. She wasn't. I opened it before she noticed its anonymity. Or size.

So what other secret was revealed in this letter (besides Roy's logbooking and his admission of mailing)? The secret of how he stamps his pseudo-cancellation marks!

Roy Arenella, "Bull's Eye Postmark Stamp (Retired)" (21 Nov 2004)

What a simple, elegant, and inexpensive contrivance is this! And I'm honored to own the drain stopper that gracefully marked so many postcards.

This mailing of Roy's, by the way, is # 470X+ENCLS (the 470th mailing, a xerox copy, with enclosures).

un violon d'ingres

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