Into the find

I don’t know if it was Erin or the rest of us on the editorial staff who felt more relief when the very first “found” item made its way to SN&R. (We’re talking about a discarded piece of paper with a scribbled drawing of a pipe—titled “Things to Do: 6” Long and 2” Thick”—that, as the finder noted, was found not in front of an adult bookstore, but near a checkout line at a local Home Depot.)

Something, at last, had been found.

A few months earlier, Calendar Editor Erin Sierchio had come up with the idea that we should do a Found in Sacramento project by getting readers to send in discarded items they’d found—like scribbled poems, to-do lists and Post-it note drawings. We’d publish it around the time that Davy Rothbart, the founder of Found magazine, came to town. Well, everybody loved the idea and Erin’s enthusiasm for it. Yeah, we’d find space in SN&R somewhere for local finds.

Well, the initial call went; the response was zero for several weeks. We worried that the idea was going to bomb. But just when we thought it likely would, the pipe drawing arrived at Erin’s desk. After that, day by day, a parade of amazing local finds started pouring in from readers. Ultimately, we decided the project’s amassed stuff was too good—it simply had to go to the cover.

At one point in the process of editing Erin’s introduction, I asked her to “go deep” in trying to explain to our readers what it all really meant. Was it a comment on our need to find common humanity in a society of strangers? Or an exploration of modern values? Or an argument for the beauty of simple things in an ultra-complex time?

No, no and no again. Or maybe yes to all of the above. As it turns out, people who are into Found don’t care much about articulating answers to such questions. They just want us to share the appreciation, treasure the finds and cherish what’s cool.