Crossed Letters

claudia me letters comp

It started with an exchange of comments on Claudia McGill’s post of September 29, “Handwritten Postcards”:
K:  The loose graphics are very appealing. especially the woven look of the top two.
C:  Thank you. I read about how in the past, to save paper, people would reuse letters written to them and cross the previous lines. A little hard to read but very effective use of resources, I always thought, and I really enjoy the tangled patterns you can make doing this as in this postcard you mention. Try it, you will enjoy it, there is something very relaxing about it.
K:  I reuse paper all the time. I hate wasting anything. But the writing over aspect is something to consider…
C:  I’d love to see an example where two different handwritings crossed. Send me a letter and I’ll cross it and send back!

letter claudia s

And so I did.  Claudia sent me two pages of text, along with photos and links to the place that inspired her words, the Dixon Meadow Preserve and Erdenheim Farm.

milkweed s

Her words and photos made me think about my childhood, when even our suburban house was only half a block from woods and meadows and creeks to explore.  We had no devices to keep us indoors, and we went outside at every chance.  It made me think about governments and corporations with seemingly no awareness or memory of being an integral part the natural world.  I wrote about it in a poem and prose rambling over Claudia’s text.

claudia me 1s

I ran the woods too, even in suburbia, there were still open spaces, for butterflies dragonflies tadpoles bees creeks brush meadows woods trees rocks sky prickers blackberries colors and clouds and wind—we ran wild, my mother just told us to be home for dinner, who does that now? They would take your children away from you

The vast blue sky you don’t see in the city in the suburbs it needs open space below and the companionship of trees plants wild things animals and such and such clouds to contemplate I used to lie on my back in the grass and just look at the sky what was I thinking? Maybe thoughts beyond thought before thought now my mind is so busy it never stops to just be and let the world run through like a river like the wind

Milkweed waiting standing in formation sentinels of hope—why are we killing killing killing?—we need the blue sky the green grass the monarch migrating and returning again that circle too many holes now just shot through with holes leaking life but still the sky the stars and moon at night they don’t need us to sing poetry to this world and all the other places that could be points of life of light

No we are not necessary at all in fact we are probably in the way so be grateful give thanks open your heart your eyes

claudia me 2s

Run the woods
opening spaces
butterflies
dragonflies
tadpoles creeks meadows trees sky–
who does that wild now?

You don’t see
in your house your room
vast blue sky
such and such
companionship and still time
to contemplate clouds…

Thoughts beyond
thought before thinking–
so busy now
let the world
run through like rivers like wind
returning again

me claudia 2s

Claudia wrote one of her wonderful meditations on the details of our lives over my letter and also deconstructed the poem two different ways–I hope she will post all three versions in her post about this project, or, if not, in a future post.  She also, as she is unfailingly generous with her art, sent me 3 text postcards for my own.

postcards comp

Thank you Claudia!  Now I want to do some stitching on/with these crossed letters.  To be continued…

claudia postcard 1s

Because the poems I wrote were shadormas, I’m also connecting to November’s Shadorma Challenge at Along the Interstice.

You can see Claudia’s post about our collaboration, here.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel

33 responses to “Crossed Letters”

  1. Claudia McGill says :

    Oh, this looks great and I love hearing your thoughts as you went along. And those poems, once again – I really love how you use words. I’ve said it and I’ll say it again. Thank you for doing this project with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynz Real Cooking says :

    So good to see you are back

    Liked by 1 person

  3. merrildsmith says :

    What a creative–and fun–artistic collaboration! I like how you were each inspired. The thoughts and shadorma are lovely reflections.

    I had missed Claudia’s post that started this, so let me add that I’ve read letters that had that cross-writing. Many years ago, I was working on a project in the Quaker Collection at Haverford College. I read many, many eighteenth and nineteenth-century family letters mainly between mothers, daughters, and sisters in which they wrote all over the pages in different directions and re-wrote over words. I hadn’t thought about it artistically then–it was frustrating trying to find information I was looking for in a limited time. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Merril. There is so much more we could do with this idea took! Well Claudia is full of good ideas, always.
      That’s so interesting that you had to work with letters written to conserve paper. But I imagine they were beautiful as well as frustrating! We do take our abundances for granted…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Evelyn Flint says :

    A lovely exchange of creativity…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sharon Mann says :

    Welcome back and what a creative project. The writing crossing over is so visually interesting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and notes about this project. We grew up in a different kind of time, didn’t we. Both you and Claudia are definitely kindrid spirits.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. alongtheinterstice says :

    Splendidly layered (pun intended)… and evocative shadormas (or is it shadormi?), meshing rhythm with content

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Janice says :

    Wonderful to read of your creative exchanges. Your concluding Shadorma particularly echoes my current feelings. And as it gets colder I tend to go out less and miss connecting to the outdoors…an energy source…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. memadtwo says :

    Kerfe and Claudia, these are so beautiful. I’d really love to see them in person. I never heard of or saw any letters reused like this. Absolutely wonderful. Nina

    Like

  9. deuxiemepeau says :

    What a co-lab! So impressed, conversations laid on top of each other like blankets of comfort and connection- I love it! Bravo ladies 🎉👌👏

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jodi says :

    Oh how AWESOME! YES to stitching!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jill Kuhn says :

    I love the collaboration that you did with Claudia! So awesome to see such a wonderful combination of talents together! 👍🎨
    I must say that I love the “creative writing” of layers and I may have to give this a try for a collage or two! Thank you for the inspiration! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Crossing in the Mail | Claudia McGill and Her Art World - November 7, 2017
  2. More Crossed Letters | method two madness - January 18, 2018
  3. stars of everything – K. - August 10, 2020

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