Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Postcard from Beyond the Grave

When I lived in Sri Lanka in 1992, I published the first issue of Scribbles. It contained an article called "The Quest for Arthur C Clarke" detailing how close I came to meeting the famous science fiction author.

The next issue of Scribbles was published in Ottawa. I talked a bit about how I missed Sri Lanka and that all I had to remember Arthur C Clarke by was a pen that Doug Graham stole from Clarke's dive shop. It was a cheap ballpoint pen with "This pen was stolen from Arthur C Clarke" printed on the side.

I figured that those words meant that the wealthy author encouraged the theft of his pens, but shortly after my publication of Scribbles #2, I began receiving postcards from Arthur C Clarke asking about his pen and requesting its return. The postcards came from all over the world. None of them gave a return address, but I found an address for him in Sri Lanka and sent him a letter with a replacement pen. He must not have received it because I continued to receive postcards from him for several years.

They finally stopped coming.

Arthur C. Clarke died on 19 March. But look what arrived today.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever received complaints from people who paid for Scribbles subscriptions and were left hanging when it suddenly ceased publication? Or do most of your former subscribers think of your blog as an extension of Scribbles?

Sorry to hear about A.C. Clarke. Your fascination with him goes back a long way.


bob said...

That is really creepy, and really cool, and just really cool... wow. I think i'll either need to a) start stealing things in an effort to get postcards from all over the world or b) pick someone and start this postcard-stalking.

My guess is though, this is someone you know :)

Anonymous said...

Where is my pen now?

Aggie said...


Anonymous said...

David please consider reprinting a best-of-scribbles on your blog. I would like to reread the article about how to empty your nose and free yourself from the tyranny of the kleenex company. And who could forget the man who used a wristband heartbeat monitor to gauge his attraction to women. I don't remember if he also used it to gauge attraction to men, but that could be an interesting follow-up piece.

Does anyone else have a favourite Scribbles article they would like to see on the blog?

David Scrimshaw said...

Red Vera, yes, there have been complaints.

Jennifer, Don't Blow Your Nose has been online for a long time. I'll have to go looking for the heartbeat monitor piece.

Anonymous said...

Ah! Thank you for the nose-wiping online ref. Rereading the article made me happy.