i promise.
you'll find it here.
no journal is forgotten.

Skalitzerstr. 68,
Im Hinterhof
10997 Berlin

"where books are burned,
in the end people will burn"

henrich heine, 1820

i came to motto
to meet anne schwalbe
an incredible photographer
who lives & works in berlin.

motto is a special place.
its a cornucopia of words & ideas
stacks, drawers, cabinets stuffed
with bounded mags & journals.

the storekeeper,
with a computer on her lap,
just sits on a metal fold-up
chair in the corner.
paper all around.
no desk.

meanwhile, i found myself
absorbing the whole situation
touching each cover ever so gently.
passing my fingers across titles
I had never heard of, as if
they might disappear.

i was so happy that they
were there, if only for a moment.
that someone spent time to make
even that one issue.

i left motto
thinking about something
i had visited only the day before.
Micha Ullman's memorial of the
1933 nazi book burnings.
powerful, simple.

a window looking
into a subterranean room
of empty bookshelves


miss milki said...

It sounds fabulous! If I'm ever in Berlin again I'll have to remember to go there.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

There is something to be said of taste that inspire as seen through the eyes of one with a cultivated eye, unfortunately I’m not the one best able to say it but I’ll say this. You my dear have an eye for the divine. I will follow with interest and appreciation.
All my very best,

Kristin said...

Lovely post.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is one of my favorites!

my other room said...

sometimes, when we are driving to school by bicycle, we always cross bebelplatz and i c'ant stop praising my 7 year old daughter the advantage of our history breathing morning route but rarely there is time enough to have another look into the window.

i need to find out about the motto bookshop soon.

thanks again

If Jane said...

so strong!

Marion said...

I love that place in Berlin !
Wish I could go back there soon...

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing that window in the ground when I visited Berlin back in 2001; & I remember being struck by how much history was recognized and visible and purposefully integrated into the daily life of that city. Like Kathe Kollwitz's mother with her dying son in the small building on the main street, with the snow falling onto it through the skylight. Seeing everything so marked, it made me feel brave and even hopeful about the future -- even though all these memorials were also evidence of our capacity for inhumanity, evidence that we may really be ultimately self-destructive. But then, appreciating that makes gestures like these seem even braver.

-- Marina

Eleanor said...


This is the link to 'Sometimes I Just Need Quiet' zine in blog form. By photographer Samuel Hodge.

Beautiful pictures. Beautiful zine. Beautiful post.


radioisfree said...

how different an experience at motto must be, compared to say, barnes&noble/borders - further proof of the homogenization of culture and life in america.