I had today off and spent it by wrapping up holiday shopping, finishing Leviathan by Paul Auster and making soup from this month’s produce box. After looking into Auster’s 1992 work, I discovered that the woman depicted in the story is based on a French artist, Sophia Calle who actually sought out Auster to create a fictional character who she would then attempt to resemble. I found her one of the most intriguing characters in the book (generally, I find him quite good at character development although his depiction of children, particularly their speech seems far fetched and forced – but you know what they say about opinions…) Calle’s real-life works included in the book were such projects as hiring a detective to follow her in order to provide concrete evidence of her existence, taking a job as a hotel housekeeper and imagining the lives of the guests based on what was left behind in their rooms and finding an address book and interviewing the contacts found within in order to find more information about the owner. After Auster’s book, Sophia then carried out the projects conceived by the story’s Maria such as restricting her diet to one particular color (cottage cheese, eggs, cauliflower). Her work is based on the literary concepts of Oulipo where artificial constraints are placed on a given work. I love this idea because I’m always creating and breaking rules for myself as it excites the control freak in me to no end. A major work of this movement was Georges Perec’s lipogrammatic novel La Disparition, written entirely without the use of the letter “e” yet completely about the same missing letter. Mind. Blown.