Have you ever saved a dollar bill because there was something cryptic and funny written on it? Ever found a photo of some people you didn't know, but felt strangely obligated to keep it--or moreover--to rescue it? I have, and have often wondered if other functioning adults share this strange fascination with found objects.
My question was answered one day when I received a web link to FOUND Magazine from a friend in Chicago. Davy Rothbart, a collage artist from Chicago who uses words and memory as his medium, is an ingenious guy. FOUND Magazine is the result of his collaboration with an army of "finders," who send Davy their weird stuff.
His magazine is a quick, smart read for any reality buff/closet voyeur. This reprint of the magazine's first edition boasts 15 additional pages to its 65-page predecessor. It contains a catalog of somber shopping lists, bitchy high school notes, heartbreaking journal entries, mysterious photos (some with writing on the back), and an exquisite interview with artist and novelist Lynda Barry.
The most striking entry is in a journal written by a 20-something woman on vacation in Hawaii with her husband. Found on an airplane--a lost object from a previous flight--the journal chronicles eight days of sight-seeing, eating, and "nookie." The profound awareness that this is someone's perception of her own life, not meant for other eyes, is hard to shake. The entry holds a heartbreaking and terrifying link to a life still being lived. Half-fetish, half-fascination, FOUND keeps you hooked with its scope. It's like people-watching, without the fear of reprisal.
FOUND is also an ongoing project. Mr. Rothbart encourages his readers to be part of his obsession. On his website, www.foundmagazine.com, there are snippets and pieces of the collection, plus a "Find of the Week." Also present are instructions on how to order. You will probably have a hard time finding it on a bookstore shelf, but ask around and maybe somebody will order a few copies. There is no word as to a second volume, but I am doing my part by sending in all my marked up dollar bills and crazy, misspelled flyers to help fill its pages.