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04/04/2013 07:49 am ET

Sheila Heti: Photography Acquisition From 'Aperture' (PHOTO)

The latest issue of the photography magazine Aperture features novelists talking about their recent photography acquisitions, including Teju Cole, Sam Lipsyte and, reprinted below, Sheila Heti.

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Vintage postcards foil-stamped with the word Toronto, by artist Sandy Plotnikoff, from Aperture 210

I keep these postcards, which I bought at an artists’ multiples shop in Toronto, on the tall bookshelves near my desk. One is on one shelf, leaning against a row of books; the other on another shelf, leaning against some more books.

These vintage postcards were found by the artist Sandy Plotnikoff, then foil-stamped with Toronto. I bought them in 2007, when I was really dissatisfied about living here, in Toronto, my hometown, where I have been almost my entire life.

Toronto seemed to me to be just one thing, a thing I knew well, a thing I no longer wanted to engage with. I wanted to be on the sea. I wanted to be on a double-decker bus! I wanted to be in the desert. When I saw these postcards, I knew that they would make me feel better about being in Toronto. They did. They remind me, whenever I look at them, that the imagination is the best place to travel; that your city is not one thing— a thing you know well—but as mysterious as any other place; it’s an illusion to think we know what a place is.

Why isn’t Toronto a barge on the sea, or the Bahnhof Zoo? Every place is every place else.

Sheila Heti’s most recent novel is How Should a Person Be? (Henry Holt, 2012). Taken from “Collectors: The Novelists, On Recent Acquisitions”, Aperture 210

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