Sunday, February 13, 2011

Unfinished inscription to a linksman

I don't remember ever having seen an inscription in a book that stopped mid-sentence.

In Gene Sarazen's Better Golf After Fifty (Harper & Row, 1967), I wondered if a better memory after fifty were needed, when I came across this incomplete inscription:
Dear Lindy, I've wanted to repay your many wonderful favors you
That's it. Favors you... What? We're left hanging like a putt on the lip of the cup.

It's easy to assume that Lindy didn't get the book and he didn't get repaid with this book for all his favors, whatever they were. Afterall, why give a book to someone with an incomplete gift inscription?

So what happened? Several possible scenarios come to mind.
  • The writer had a senior moment or ADD and set the book down somewhere, never to return to it.

  • The writer liked the book and kept it for himself after it occurred to him mid-sentence that he really wanted it. No need to complete the inscription at that point.

  • The writer had second thoughts about whether a cheap book was really the appropriate way to express gratitude for the many wonderful favors.

  • The writer developed a serious case of writer's block and never recovered. Too embarrassed at this point, he put the book away somewhere and years later after a house cleaning or estate sale, the book wound up in a resale shop where some blogger picked it up and wondered about the inscription started forty-something years ago.

  • The writer dropped dead after the word "you."

Whatever the reason, it is unusual, perhaps even unique in the annals of documented book inscriptions. Make that annal, singular. At present, I know of only one creative soul out there who is actually doing this: The Book Inscriptions Project

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