I began buying and keeping bookmarks as a student at the university. Most of my friends read, so I thought it would be a sweet thing to have something to randomly give them for a friendly thoughtful gesture. My bookmarks grew in number as I became fonder and fonder of reading. I often explored the small corners of the bookstores where bookmarks usually are displayed and secretly admired the cuteness of these rectangular paper pieces. I felt weird then. Later on, I made some sense of it. I thought maybe my heightened fascination with bookmarks had something to do with my love for books and reading. Reading made me realise the utility of such a simple and inconspicuous piece of a rectangular paper – though they come now in many forms and materials.
And so the collecting began, fourteen years ago – more or less. Some years were slow, some were busy and full of exchanges. It varied. There were times when I used up my allowance and savings paying postal stamps to get my bookmarks delivered to the other side of the world. But it was worth it. I like especially paper bookmarks that showcase libraries, books, authors, artworks, artists, films, and literary events. I’m most fascinated with series, for instance a series of bookmarks featuring works of contemporary painters and puzzle paper bookmarks.
I have collected beautiful bookmarks in exchange. Bookmarks that I wouldn’t find – ever – in any of my travels. They come in envelopes with lovely stamps and simple notes. And that excitement you have when a mail for you arrives and you know it has some wonderful surprises enclosed for you.
The web is an amazing place to look for like-minded people, or should I say people having the same interests as mine. I found a very active Yahoo group of bookmark collectors. I used to participate in their monthly exchanges. I posted a collector’s ad at Mirage Bookmark website. Many of my exchange partners found me there. That experience of collecting and exchanging is just simply happiness. It can be addicting. The right kind of addiction, if you know what I mean. *laughs*
I had so many plans that concern bookmarks – putting up a club, selling in major bookstores here in Manila, writing a bookmark blog, or showing my collection on an online bookmark exhibition. But as I always say, life gets in the way, sadly, and we only have so much energy to burn for all of our plans. Some of them get realised, others don’t. But there’s no closing doors for me.
Life also has its own way to give us what our hearts desire. One day a friend of mine invited me to write a blog about collecting bookmarks fort the website bookbed which is a community platform for book sharing and storytelling. It was an excellent opportunity to come out and communicate to others about the joy this hobby brings. I am doing this job almost for a year now and my blog Bookmarked features also interviews with some of the IFOB members. Selling bookmarks and an exhibition of my collection are on their way. Crossing fingers.
And because I also love taking photos of bookmarks and other things, I can’t end this short entry without showing you some more photos of my bookmarks. Ciao, for now. More to come! Happy collecting!