Today in my capstone class, I introduced the kids to Jorge Luis Borges, the author we’ll be reading for the remainder of the term. We started with “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius“, from the Labyrinths collection. As part of my lecture prep, I planned to reread the story last night, so I searched my office shelves for my copy of the book. It wasn’t there. Or at least I couldn’t find it. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen my office, or for that matter, who has talked to me at any length. My life and personal spaces are reminiscent of Horse Badorties’ Number One Pad or The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The Collyer Brothers would suggest I tidy up a bit. (For what it’s worth, I periodically amaze folks who come in looking for something when I direct them to it immediately. So most of the time, it isn’t a problem.) But I looked through the books on my shelves, on my desk, on the windowsill, in my recliner. No dice. Maybe I had left it at home.
So I went home and checked those shelves. Nope. Check our library’s holdings. Also nope. (We need to remedy that, by the way.) Grab a copy of the book for my Kindle? Nuh-uh. So I figured I’d simply have to remember my prior readings of the story for the class discussion.
I walked into my office this morning before class, and decided to take one more look at the shelves. It was the first book on the first shelf I looked at.
So that’s a happy ending, I guess, but after class, I found myself wondering. One of the concepts in the story (which deals with an imaginary hyper-Berkeleyan world that ultimately metaphysically invades ours) is that of the hrönir, which per the Wiki article, “arise when two different people find the ‘same’ lost object in different places.” Is my copy of Labyrinths now one of these? Did I call it into being by looking once more where I thought it “should be?”
I think I’m ready for Thanksgiving break next week.