Unequivocally, The Collector of Moments is a work of art. It is a picture book yes, sold in the children’s section of a bookstore, but it defies categorization, like Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, or The Arrival by Shaun Tan. The illustrations are enigmatic, a sort of visual poetry caught mid-stanza before the swirl of imagery has settled. Not quite as obtuse as Magritte, or as twisted as Michael Sowa, but with the same weird juxtopositions of reality and fantasy. Or…I think it’s fantasy. I live in Canada and I’ve yet to see snow elephants, but perhaps my powers of observation are not as keen as Quint Buchholz, the German creator of this beguiling book. I’ll have to take a closer look.
I know a little something about ice. This winter has made me an expert. Last year, Edmonton broke a record for the quantity and in some respects, quality of snow that descended upon its shovel weary citizens, ending a multi-year drought and sending our city council into a tizzy of snow removal that was not only inadequate to the task, but a spectacular (and occasionally entertaining) public relations fiasco. This year, unlike any year in recent memory, we’ve had very little snow, some rain, ice-polishing gales, and a months-long cycle of freeze-thaw temperature variations. The landscape is pock-marked with pools of hard, lethal ice waiting to catch my rubber soles in a moment of inattention. Nevertheless, in summer when it’s unbearably hot, I will think back to winter’s icy grip with fondness, for there is nothing worse than unrelieved heat.
Just ask the pigs.
As the year, any year, comes to a close, we are compelled by cultural pressures and lifestyle evangelists to evaluate our lives and either pat ourselves on the back for a job well done (unlikely), or resolve to improve our shortcomings (more likely) in the new year. I fall into the latter category. I always fall into the latter category. Unhelpful and occasionally unhealthy patterns plague me year after year, and year after year I resolve to change them…to break free…to be the person I’m meant to be, or something like that. But, I’m stuck. Stuck in routines and behaviours that prevent me from moving beyond my present situation (and dress size.) After many failed attempts to deal with my various and largely self-imposed problems, I need a new plan of attack. Luckily, and just in time, Oliver Jeffers has published a new how-to book on this very subject. Sure, it may be difficult to obtain the required blue whale and an ocean freighter, but I am game, and willing to try anything once. I just wish I didn’t throw like a girl.