Scrapbook page 102


I recently rediscovered this early version of a cover/frontispiece for Book of Pages (I’d forgotten about the boat, so it was a curious experience to be suddenly reminded of it). An early illustrated draft of the book has Jiriki find the cartoonist’s studio — and make changes to the story there — in an old barge. The barge was based on a friend’s Parisian boat (a péniche) I had stayed on at the time, which was sometime around 1991. In the early version of the story, the abbot sends Jiriki into the Metropolis with a bag containing pencils and other drawing tools in order to make changes to the book itself — and hence his journey — when he finds it; in a later draft, those tools became rocks (specifically, “twenty-nine ordinary rocks” although it takes him considerable time to collect those before he can start, because, well, if you’re curious about the world, when is a rock ever ordinary?), which he would use, one at a time (thereby lightening his load as his journey progresses) to affect the outcomes of the encounters he has. By the final draft, both these devices are gone, and the abbot sends him out with nothing but an instruction: to find the book. Hardcore Book of Pages nerds might recognise that the abbot’s choice for the quantity of rocks needed was not arbitrary; that number somehow made it into the final book even if Jiriki’s bag of rocks didn’t.