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!
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.
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.
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
Run the woods
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…
thought before thinking–
so busy now
let the world
run through like rivers like wind
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.
Thank you Claudia! Now I want to do some stitching on/with these crossed letters. To be continued…
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.