Book Review: Lost and

Lost and by Jeff Griffin

Lost and by Jeff Griffin is a collection of discarded memories. Griffin operates the Slim Princess Holdings, a publishing house and is an associate at Griffin Moss Industries. He graduated from Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently lives in Nevada. 

Life is filled with strange coincidences. Earlier today I wrote a review on a poetry collection by a bartender who apparently had no educational background in poetry and I made the comment of not knowing what to expect: something good or an experimental project. It turned out to be pretty traditional. From Griffin, I was expecting something traditional with a Southwest theme. Instead I got the experimental poetry. Poetry is a bit of a stretch, but maybe something poetic would be a better description. I read this collection twice hoping to come up with at Ah-ha moment when everything miraculously made sense…the Rosetta Stone for this book. That moment didn’t come. 

I discarded the idea that this was some how poetry and things made a bit more sense…kind of. There is something in here that captures the reader and holds him or her to this book. The book is mostly comprised of letters, drawing, documents, partial book pages, charts, and photographs. These items were discarded by their owners and found by the Griffin, in the desert, who organized them into a book. It is the work or items of many people that make up this book. It would be like buying a public use computer and scouring the hard drive for information in the form of emails, Tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook postings of all the users and reading that information. There is a certain feeling of guilt while reading that you are digging into peoples’ private lives. Some of the items are generic but others are very personal. It is interesting and maybe even compelling in a non-traditional sense. 

I am still unsure of what exactly to make of Lost and but it was well worth the read and the reread. It has a voyeuristic element to it, but at the same time you also think, there can’t be anything wrong with it because it is all random items found blowing around the desert. Lost and is a book on the surface that has little to it other than a collection of discarded paper, but where the book succeeds is below the surface. The more you think about what you have in your hand the greater its value becomes. Most of the letters and notes are handwritten, and for the last decade, or more, how many people have written letters by hand? And when people do write letters by hand it is something important to them – to create a permanent record of their thoughts rather than an electronic message that has no permanent form. These are little bits of people’s lives that they deemed necessary to create a permanent form either as writing or as a photograph. 

I was worried that I wouldn’t have much to say about Lost and, but apparently I was wrong; I could probably keep going for a while. This work is will grow on you, more so after you have read it and thought it though. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed when I first started the book. I am, however, very glad I stuck with it. It is a fairly amazing experiment.

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