Will Schofield.

“My home office is a 10 x 11 room in the back of a third-story apartment in Philadelphia, which I share with my partner of ten years and two cats. Because a row of apartment buildings sits across the tiny street/alley behind me, at all hours of the day and night I hear: trash trucks, wood chippers that sound like insane elephants, building fire alarms which no one knows how to turn off, people yelling at ancient poodles to “hurry up and go pee,” drunk 17-year-old girls cackling and cursing, surly movers hacking up lungs, neighbors on cell phones making emergency calls to therapists on balconies two feet away from my face, homeless people singing Stylistics’ songs at the top of their lungs. (None of this is particularly annoying — except the cell phone guy — it’s just part of my work environment.) Over the ruckus, I blast Pakistani divas and patiently assemble A Journey Round My Skull. (The unfortunate blog name, taken from a Hungarian book, is explained in my rambling first post from Aug. 4, 2007.)

I love records and books equally, and have collected both with abandon since my teenage years. Luckily I never had a strong vinyl fetish so last year sold a bunch of records and now mainly listen to mp3s. I say luckily because I ran out of room for my books and records around 2003. Through doing the blog, I slowly discovered new worlds of objects to hoard: 60s German design magazinesCzech illustrated booksJapanese and Estonian and Iranian and Polish kids’ books, French medical booksfallout protection pamphletspsychedelic science textbooks. This colorful cultural debris sits in stacks with my main collection of European fiction (circa E.T.A. Hoffmann to Thomas Bernhard) — i.e., the stuff I actually read. (Some day soon, I’ll get around to collecting pictorialist photographyJapanese baseball cardsHungarian bookplates, and Rory Hayes comix.)

Objects in the photo of my desk, starting at the top left: creepy straw-lady box from a Rhode Island junk shop and photo of my favorite author Robert Walser; a few children’s books which are a bit too large for my scanner: The Twins Who Flew Around the World (1931, Holling C. Holling), Little Garden People (illus. Marion Bryson, 1938; I love anthropomorphic insects), first US edition of Buzzati’s Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, two Graham Lambkin originals guarded by nervous wooden pig; second row: litho by Peter Rufenacht, 18″ tall German book by Scapa, computer screen with medical illustration, print by Manfred Holzel (Rufenacht and Holzel images are from a 1973-74 issue ofSpektrum). Bottom row: laying on the cheap but trusty scanner: fold-out poster of “Footing” by Jochen Gerz, from Experiments in Prose (1969 Swallow Press); hardcover collection of a 70s Serbian illustrated kids’ magazine, opened to a spread most likely by Dušan Radovic (see a tiny detail of the image here).

Scanned ephemera/junk pile: a small selection of the hundreds of papers and post-its on my desk before I pushed them all off to take the photo. I use yellow post-its for everything, including notations about songs (illuminating commentary such as “nice cheap organ” and “fem vox – poppy” — this should make it clear why I don’t write criticism). In this photo you can also see a hilarious book postcard about gay Nazi spies, a Japanese stamp, a Peter  Sagal quote about Sarah Palin narrating her own acid trip, and a drawing by my friend Vick featuring Bengali heads and a Veloso lyric.

Window view: bars, tan cat, black cat, door sloppily painted shut, the Savoy, record boxes.”

Will Schofield was born in 1977 in Philadelphia, where he still lives and works. He’s procrastinating on a number of book projects related to his blog 50watts.

FROM YOUR DESKS: You are a Gemini. What is your Chinese Zodiac sign?  

Year of the Snake.

FYD: You’ve been blogging since 2007. What kicked off the idea of “Journey Round my Skull”?

WS: I wanted to talk about books and keep a record of my reading habits. It slowly morphed into a ‘visual’ blog. I’m trying now to combine the two. Organizing and writing posts can take time, but it’s a pleasant activity. I occasionally hit libraries (physical and digital), but most of the images featured are scans from my personal collection. Some people regularly feed me material too: the writer Gilbert Alter-Gilbert contributes hilarious essays, and the book collector Richard Sica contributes scans from his trove.

FYD: It looks like you are a music fan (I love ELO too;  I’m an Evil Woman fan.) What’s your favorite song?

WS: “Yours Truly, 2095” — mostly for the lyrics “She has an I.Q. of 1001 / She has a jumpsuit on / And she’s also a telephone.” (At this point, I can even enjoy “Balance of Power” — a total ELO addict.)

FYD: What draws you to the cover of a book?

WS: I’m not sure what attracts me to a cover design, though I do like illustrated covers (which is why I have a lot of Pushpin covers).

FYD: Blogging doesn’t exactly pay the bills; do collectors hook up a connoisseur such as yourself?

WS: A few very nice people have donated materials to “my collection.” If you have weird moldy international illustrated books that even the trashmen don’t want, email me.

People write to me from all over the world.

FYD: Where do you want to see your blog in another year?

WS: I have some wild posts coming up with various collaborators — translators, archivists, artists, insomniacs, hoarders. I’m slowly getting into comics and graphic novels, so that could open up new series. Though I have nothing to do with it, I’m really excited that a book-length Poets Ranked By Beard Weight is coming next year (I might have to somehow grow a beard for the book launch).

FYD: Are you educating people?

WS: I do think of the blog as a resource for young artists, designers, and writers. People write to me from all over the world. If I didn’t have this outlet, I would just be gaping at the material alone, wondering if I would ever meet another person who had seen the work of Hinko Smrekar.

(Image One: Will’s Desk. Image Two: Will’s Bookcase.  Image Three: A Journey Round My Skull by Frigyes Karinthy. Image Four: The Lime Works by Thomas Berhnard. Image Five: Fallout Shelter. Image Six: Jaroslav Serych, 1979, Illustration for Contes d’Indonesie. Image Seven: Will’s Cats. Image Eight: Greatest Flickr Hits. Image Nine/Ten: Gemini Sign/Year of Snake. Image Ten: Electric Light Orchestra’s Time. Image Eleven: Hinko Smrekar, illus. for Krpanova kobila by Ivan Cankar, 1907.)

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6 Comments For “Will Schofield.”

  1. O'd T'man says:

    Too bad none of your shopping lists (popsicles, tea-Earl Grey, meatballs) got addressed in this post. (The ref to your post-it note habit reminded me.)

  2. Will @ AJRMS says:

    O’d: there were a few things I didn’t share so that they couldn’t be used against me by future employers, like my feverish love letters to Amy Sedaris and a ‘to do’/resolution list from Jan. 2009 which optimistically begins, “1. Stop being such an idiot.” (So many broken resolutions…)

  3. Ian says:

    yup only a Gemini can amass such great finds like these, kudos

  4. Tineke says:

    Can I do you a favour with illustrations from this book?


    I also have illustrations from 12 of the slovakian books you used for your 2009 expo about slovakian bookcovers.

    Kind regards, Tineke Holland

  5. Will @ AJRMS says:

    Tineke, definitely, thanks so much: write to me at ajourneyroundmyskull [AT] gmail [dot] com

  6. leya tess says:

    will, you’re my hero.

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