Michael Swanwick's Bottled Stories

When he was a teenager Borges used to write stories and poems, print them up as chapbooks, then take them around his town and slip them into the pockets of coats he found hanging on coat racks at restaurants, barber shops, stores, and other establishments. I have always found this image of the young Borges as literary Johnny Appleseed to be disarmingly charming. I might well have invented a character for one of my CR posts who writes stories and surreptitiously slips them into coat pockets. Or how about this: write stories and put them into bottles, then send the bottles into the world. So Borgesian. Now I learn that the inestimable Michael Swanwick does exactly that with his Bottled Stories. Such projects fill me with unexplainable joy. Sure, we can write for a wide audience, but to write for an audience of one, or even none, has its own kind of poetry.

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