Annie Scampton

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Amongst the many, many Victorian scrapbooks that turn up on Ebay, there is occasionally literary and aesthetic treasure. And none more so than Annie Scampton's absolutely gorgeous ode to her lovely life: a scrapbook I bid on in the early stages but ultimately lost to a high bid worthy of its charm.

What makes Annies scrumptious scrapbook so special is not just the sheer prettiness of its pages, nor the gorgeous fountain penned calligraphy, but that each page contains not just notes and quotes from Annie herself, but newspaper jokes, resplendent with the innocence of the era (Says the conceited young student proudly: "I say, look there! That shoemakers boy is putting his tongue out at me!"  Friend: "Why you seem quite pleased!" Student: "Of course, he takes me for a doctor already!") and more tellingly, scaps, notes, autographs and letters, glued carefully into the pages, from friends and relations, that reveal Annie to be the wonderful woman we would have her be from this tiny peek into her 1889 life...

I worry sometimes that Typepad will go bust. That I will wake up one morning, flick on my computer and discover that BrocanteHome, the past four years and every self indulgent little whim of mine will have been swallowed up and hurtled into internet heaven. That there is no way of securing my site in it's entirety, at least in it's current form and that we give so much daily regardless, never certain that we are committing those words, this little bit of who we are, to infinity. Because 100 years from now, there won't be a lucky ebay bidder holding our dreams in her hands. Nobody looking back on the life of a stranger and wondering who she was, what became of her, what she did with that abundance of spirit... 

And perhaps this is a good thing. BrocanteHome was never intended to be a diary and lately, through the circumstances of running in and out of libraries, without the intimacy of the relationship between me and my personal laptop, I feel it is going that way: a rushed outpouring of the dailiness of my life, not the scrapbook of dreams I always meant it to be. Not the place of scrumptious inspiration it used to be and for that I apologise. I get so very caught up in myself sometimes...

At night, I still sit, glue in hand, journal on knee. While this yellow covered journal, an illustrated memoir of who I am and who I want to be, does not have the focused beauty of Annie Scamptons scrapbook, and has  never been offered out for public consumption, it is in it's less self conscious innocence a better representation of who I really am. Uncensored by the magnitude of living up to the me I have somehow created here, the voice I expect to find on BrocanteHome, it is instead a playful representation of a life less ordinary, and one way or another I want to find a way to incorporate the essence of my illustrated self into BrocanteHome...   

I don't have to wait for more than a century to be found. We, none of us who commit daily to this blogging life do, we are here, now. And we owe it to ourselves to create online, scraps of who we truly are, because writing, even autobiographical writing is a funny thing: at some point we start to believe more in character than in truth.