June 14, 2019

Literary Life: An Object Jumble

Part of my fascination with stickers is that the fact of what they various represent is a specific kind of evidence about the world. It is one thing, as an artist, to imagine up any number of objects or scenarios and project them into 2D reality; it is another to find life mimicked in a mass-produced form. It suggests that the depicted subject matter is common enough to appeal to a mass market. So naturally, when my circuitous internet ramblings brought me in the way of a sticker set titled “Literary Life,” I couldn’t help but buy the whole set, just to see how my life matched against the mass-produced literary life image.

Well, hmm.

I think probably the most unnerving is the fridge. That is an unusual, fanciful fridge I have, and it’s disturbing to see that it’s somehow a function of my literary life, apparently. Apparently, all book-lovers also love retro fridges. Generally speaking, my life aesthetics match rather well with those presented under the “literary life” sticker genre—a genre, I might add, that includes NO books and very few writing implements. There is an old-fashioned typewriter, which is absolutely how all writers produce written content, as we know. There is a computer and lot of coffee, so they got that right. I suppose it’s true that actual writing is a process involving few accessories.

It makes sense, I suppose, that the same aesthetic that shapes my living space would also determine the appeal of a given set of stickers for me—so perhaps it’s as simple as me choosing something that matches things I already like. Or maybe me and the sticker-makers have drawn from the same cultural information about what it means to be a writer, what that life looks like, and are both articulating it in our own ways—me by living, them by making small artistic representations with adhesive backing. I’m not quite paranoid enough to think that surveillance culture has facilitated a direct corollary between my life and this sticker set; but the little blonde dog gives me pause.

Anyway, please enjoy this literary life sticker set. If you lead a literary life, feel free to make a print-out and circle all the ways it does or does not agree with your self-image. Let me know if you find any more evidence you think I should take a look at!

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