Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dance History

I've been in a correspondence rut lately, focusing more on reading than writing. Maybe it's the change of seasons, or being back home after such an adventure, but I just haven't had much to say. But it's Thursday, so why not take a trip in ye olde time machine for a spell...

August 1993:

Photo by Barbara Morgan
As always, [sic]....

"Hey woman,

Sorry it's taken me so long to write you - I've beem thinkin about ^you quite a - but I hope ^your dancin dancin. You sound like you have a crazy schedule - I'll send you my address when I get it. I'll be staying in a graduate housing type of deal. I haven't danced in a long time I'm getting pretty nervous. I don't remember how to do this school thing. I want to make this good. I want to learn my brains out. 

I'm leaving here the 16th and probably be in Mass around the 25th. I'm going to try to get an E-MAIL account so we can communicate - Take care

Love ya - T"

This was the summer before my final year in college, from a friend who had graduated some years before but had come back to my school to teach and generally be awesome the previous year. She was on her way to Smith College to get her MFA in Dance. I can so relate to those nerves about school and that thirst for learning, although I'm pretty sure that "a long time" back then meant something like 6 weeks. Nowadays I sometimes go months between classes - and trust me, even when it's been weeks, it might as well be 6 months. Aging bodies are cruel!

As with many school friends, we drifted apart after a few years. She did come visit me in Seattle after her graduate program, and through the magic of social media I know she's still choreographing and dancing (yay!).

The most telling part of this postcard is the final sentence - this was back when email was accessible primarily through schools (and was still being called Electronic Mail or "e-mail"!), and everyone was so excited about this new, instant way to communicate with people. "Instant" being relative, of course - at my college, at least, few people had their own computers or access to a modem on their own, so we'd find excuses all day long to drop by the mail room or the library to use one of the 3 or 4 terminals. But the (electronic) writing was on the wall. It's no coincidence that my archive of postcards dries up about two years after this.
 
You can see the tape marks on this postcard - it was clearly well loved. The photo is from legendary modern dance pioneer Martha Graham's work Celebration, taken in 1937. I love the simplicity of the action in this picture, as well as the costumes and those gorgeously pointed (but not over-stretched) feet.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Beijing (revisited)

I've been across the world and back since my last post. My sweetie and I spent a madcap week in Beijing, China, taking in as much history (and delicious food) as we could manage in 7 days. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to come back to this blog, but it's probably a combination of not wanting to admit the trip is really in the past, and being a bit frustrated with myself for not getting my travel blog off the ground.

My first view of China after a long flight

I took several postcards with me, as always, as a backup. Ideally, I prefer to get postcards from the place that I'm visiting, but sometimes I am too busy experiencing a place to search out postcards. I did manage to find some decent postcard packets early on (although I found better individual postcards on our last day that will have to go out later). We spent our days walking walking walking and returned to our rented room utterly spent, and I was focused on trying to write down what we'd done and seen in my journal, soak up some internet to let friends and family know we hadn't dropped off the edge of the world, and then we would spend time with our amazing hosts in the evenings. This made it surprisingly hard to carve out a few minutes to write postcards - my facebook posts were basically what I would say anyway, so what was the point? Exactly the mindset I'm trying to combat, great.

Exploring the hutong alleyways
 
I did manage to write two postcards (to people who are not on facebook) midweek, which led to the next challenge: getting them stamped and in the mail before we left the country. I asked our host about mailing postcards, and he said it was really expensive and not really worth it. I didn't care about that, since it was only two, but he didn't offer up information about how or where to go. So I carried these two postcards with me the rest of the week on the off chance we saw a post office - although admittedly our daily adventures were so vast, and Beijing is so huge and a little overwhelming, that I wasn't really looking that hard.

Our favorite street food vendors, making pork belly sandwiches
 On Sunday, our final day, I was kicking myself for having missed out AGAIN on mailing postcards from the road. I thought about leaving some money with our host and asking him to mail them, but he'd really gone above and beyond for us already - and that would be kind of cheating, wouldn't it? We headed out for our final day of exploring, taking a bus to the 798 Art District and wandering through graffiti-lined alleyways, art galleries, and boutiques (finding gifts for home and better postcards), willing our trip to extend just a little longer. When we got off the bus back in our neighborhood, I spotted something that had the words "post" and "bank" in the title and it was open. On a SUNDAY. I yelled out "Post Office!!!", alarming my girlfriend who had no idea I was even looking for one, and made a beeline for it.

Art + tourism in the 798 District


Inside, there was a handful of customers and a few postal workers, none of whom seemed in a hurry to wait on us. I should point out that we were staying well out of the main part of the city, and most locals we encountered spoke little-to-no english. But this was a pretty simple transaction, after all. It cost ¥4.50 to mail each postcard, which seemed spendy (but worth it) in the moment, but it's actually less than 75 cents in USD, less than it costs to send an international postcard here.

Obligatory Great Wall photo.

The rest of the day I was high on having finally succeeded in mailing a postcard from the road. Thank goodness for communist work schedules.

Hastily taken cell phone photos of the postcards mailed:



Both of these show parts of the Forbidden City, which is probably 10 times larger than we anticipated. Missing: the thousands of people visiting at the same time we were there. The day we visited the Forbidden City was probably my least favorite - the walled former palace itself is undeniably impressive, but the air quality was quite bad that day and we just didn't set ourselves up well for the crowds or the level of walking that this site requires. It felt like a slog rather than an adventure. By the time we got through the Forbidden City we were far too wiped out to see Jingshan Park just across the exit, which would have been a good way to balance out the tourist saturation of the preceding hours. I'm glad we went, but I would structure that whole day differently based on what I know now.

Post from China can take a few weeks, as it all gets inspected before leaving the country. I was surprised less than 3 weeks after we returned to get this in my mailbox:





I was so focused on getting my postcards mailed that I didn't notice my girlfriend in the background, madly scribbling away. I knew she'd sent something too but was not expecting one to show up at our door. Nice! It reminds me that I've been wanting to try mailing myself a postcard a day from the road as a way to remember my trip. Considering how hard it is for me to get any postcards sent from the road, however, this may be beyond my capabilities.



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bon Voyage!

I'm off on a big adventure this afternoon, which means I'm up reeeeeeeally early packing and cleaning. I've got a bunch of postcards to take with me, although my track record of sending mail while I'm still abroad isn't great.

Last month was so busy I didn't send many postcards. I did get a nice response from one of the recipients, who put this up on Facebook with the following message:

"I got mail and I love it when I do! Thanks so much. I miss you.
Thanks for sending me hugs..."


A lot of the people I send postcards to don't say anything about it - which isn't necessary anyway, but who knows if it's something they enjoy or just toss. One friend demurred, saying she's got too many postcards already (not all from me!). The point of writing certainly isn't to annoy or antagonize anyone, so I'd rather know if anyone doesn't want them (although who doesn't like mail???), but it sure is better to know when a postcard has brightened someone's day.

I sent some of the promotional materials from my show last month to my mom:


The performances didn't have traditional posters or programs. These are the two sides of tickets we handed out to attendees of the night market in the City of Redmond, giving them passage to a staged meditation labyrinth in a nearby heron rookery.





This is the postcard for the shows, featuring images related to the second one. The photo was from a previous event, and isn't someone in our cast, but I got to be a clock.


My other postcard from the last few weeks went to My Awesome Sister:



I didn't take notes about this postcard, except it came from my grandmother's collection and is from Turkey.

Back to packing! Ta....


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Showtime!

I've been largely MIA this month, due to a heavy rehearsal schedule for two shows. Tonight is the first of those shows, so here are some performance-related postcards:

This was my first post-college professional dance gig, a 20ish minute piece with live music that was part of an amazing dance festival in Vancouver, BC. We left Seattle early in the morning and I slept funny in the car, causing my back to go out. My memories of the performance aren't great - it was a matter of being able to do the work at all, not how well I could do it - but the group I was performing with was great fun and we managed to get up to all sorts of mischief. There's a BnB in Vancouver that probably still has my name on a 'banned' list.

There weren't any printed programs for the shows, so I grabbed a few of these postcards. I recall sending one to a college girlfriend and she later asked which one in the photo was me. Er...

Promo picture for the whole festival, not our group!


A year later, I had formed a dance collective with some of the dancers from the previous show. Our first production was in October 1997. On our opening night, another dancer gave everyone postcards for good luck (a nice performance tradition that I think has faded away).
Gold Crown Gas Queen, 1957
"You've done it! You 4'8", 91 pound dynamo. You are SO money, you don't even know how money you are. But beware, as the only reason that man put you on that stand was so he could look up your cape!

Have a super run + see ya in MAUI! Merde...."

Rest assured, I am neither 4'8" nor 91 pounds, but that's a reference to one of the dance pieces, in which I portrayed a gymnast preparing for the Olympics. I even had a cape! Not as nice as this one, though. Nice 1990s pop cultural reference to the film Swingers, too.

Now to get ready for tonight....

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Four for Me, One for You

Time to show off some great postcards I've gotten this summer! Scanning has gotten more complicated in my house, so I've been pretty bad about keeping up. To be fair, the scanning process was kind of ridiculous already, but now space and electrical outlets are at a premium, so I need to set aside some quality time to scan them in batches.


This one I got way back in the spring, but it is so fabulous that I had to post it. It's a Peep, of course - but it's really a postcard of a Peep that was squished and scanned. By David Byrne of all people. Which kinda makes sense if you look at it - so simple, yet a little creepy.





A great postcard to Tilly and me from friends we got to see in July. It's an advertisement for liquor, but it's a cute image.


A handpainted postcard! Gah, I had a set of blank postcards for creating one's own and I think it went away with the Great Purge in the spring because I hadn't done anything with it yet. I totally loved getting this.

This one showed up just last week. Kind of a dark card for a relentlessly sunny summer, but I like it.




I did manage to get one postcard of my own out the door this week:

Titouan Lamazon - Heiata, égérie de la perle de Tahiti
Is this a black and white image with a slash of color down the middle? Or a color painting that didn't get finished at the edges?



I also got a packet of MOMA postcards given to me by a friend, so it looks like I'm going to have to block some time out for another scanning party pretty soon.




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sick Day, TBT, Vaults etc...

It's a lovely August Thursday and I'm home with either the worst allergies or the most annoying summer cold. I'm too unfocused to write correspondence, so I thought I'd go with Throwback Thursday and pull a postcard out of the ol' vault. I didn't even recognize this one, so it must have been unearthed during my spring cleaning.

June 1988, to my roommate and me:

Bear and monkeys, Egyptian painting c. 1335, from Bidpai's Fables.


"hey guys - how's it going? Not much here - DC is great - Joe N' I have been getting around by subways (they get you everywhere). You know I miss you both cuz' DC's nice but, just ain't no CINCINNATI. Tell Danny I said hi. Been playing lots of cards? I've been teaching Joe how to play games - cuz' he don't know none - we went to the FREER Gallery & the Hirschorn Museum AND the Sculpture Garden - I'll tell you more when I get home -- See you areound 7:00 (I THINK?!) Friday -

love,
Mimi"

The summer between my 1st and 2nd years of college, my friend Susan and I lived in Cincinnati. Mimi came into the café in our building a lot - she was a teenager, still in high school, and unbelievably precocious. Girl had a LOT of energy. Joe was her older brother (our age), and was the shyest punk to ever rock a mohawk. They made a funny pair.

It seems so odd now to read a postcard from a brief trip letting us know what time we would see her next, clearly only a few days away - but then I remember how careful we were about long distance phone calls back then. We didn't even have an answering machine at our apartment, let alone voicemail, so this was the most efficient way to let us know she was coming back!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Summertime Blahs

It's hot.

This summer has been so hot that I haven't had much else to say, here or through the mail. It's no surprise that the only postcards I sent last month were written on those rare days when the temperature dipped below 85 degrees.


I'm not sure where this one came from. I haven't been to San Francisco since 1997, but it looks too faux-old-timey to have come from by grandmother's postcard collection. 




I grabbed a handful of postcards and asked Tilly which one I should send, and this was her choice. She liked it because it is an homage to Edward Hopper's Nighthawks - a fact that I did not know, despite the presence of many of the Sunday "tribute" panels in this MUTTS postcard collection AND the fact that I've already shown my affinity for Hopper's moody restaurant-themed work.

A couple of summery images rounded out the July post:



I've only just noticed that there is a dog driving a boat in this image.


"Pool Sharks"

For the last one, I was flipping through my address book and saw one for SEV, which surprised me. I'm positive that the address is at least a decade old and odds are low that the postcard reached its intended audience, but .... maybe? This process of writing has helped me reconnect with several people I'd lost touch with, so why not?



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Centennial

A much-delayed follow up to my last post:

The reason I couldn't attend the Pride parade, and the reason I was in New York at all, was to celebrate my grandmother's 100th birthday. Ever wish you could be two places at once? Returning to the city in late afternoon on the 28th, the celebratory mood was still quite strong, and I came home to tales and videos of Seattle Pride that made me a bit wistful - but I wouldn't have missed this birthday party for the world.

My mom requested that people send cards that could be read at the party, so I selected one of the postcards from my grandmother's collection: 

Cold Spring Harbor, New York
Of course, being the introvert I am, I made sure to NOT have my card read in public at the party - I know these will be read to my gran over and over again.

The Notorious FTG


I did manage to send off a few postcards while I was away:


This is a postcard I picked up many trips ago, brought it with me in case I didn't have time to grab a new one. Is that cheating?



Paper Milk postcards! Always so weird and wonderful. The art shop near me finally got some new ones in. Sent to a friend who is battling a brain tumor - hoping to cheer her on to victory.

---------

There was a neat little card shop near Stonewall where I picked up a few new postcards and My Awesome Sister got a cool pin. If I could just find where I put them....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Historic PRIDE

I set up a draft of this post a few days ago because I'm visiting family and will miss Pride weekend at home. I figured I'd just pull something from the vaults and call it good. But I'm in New York City, and after the Supreme Court ruling yesterday, guaranteeing gays and lesbians the right to marry in all 50 states, my mom, my sister and I hoofed it down to Christopher Street and the historic Stonewall Inn, where the modern gay rights movement began in the US.


It was a momentous afternoon, spent laughing with strangers as we passed around cameras and flags and stories. I think the only reason we could even get this close to the entrance is that it was Friday afternoon and many people were still at work.

I'm now a bit conflicted. My honeyboo is back at home, and I won't be attending Pride celebrations on either coast (for a good reason - check back next post). I hate to miss out on the massive celebrations about  to happen, but I remind myself that I was there - I am here - for a little slice of it. I'm sure the party will still be going by the time I return to the left coast.

In the meantime, here is my previously selected Pride postcard from 1995. From a college girlfriend - we were already exes by this time, and I had graduated.
"What is it you're looking for?" Rosa Ainley
"Hey sweetie-pie
honey bunch
punkin snatch
     (no offense intended, claro) ~
Wha's up?

Thought this postcard might give you some ideas for your new + improved dating game - any action yet? Good luck...

SO- here I am at [school]. Eek. I'm doing the LGBC fwsp [Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Center work study]. Eek. I'm leaning towards a women's studies major with a queer emphasis. Eek. I love my little cubicle of a room, but feel rather alone on the outside. T. told me there are some cool 1st years. We'll see.

Love + back rubs to you...send me postcards! (I can't find all the shit i usually put on my walls.) SEV

¡Amo café!"

Ugh - I just sat here deciding whether to redact this silly postcard, since my mom is in the other room and will likely be the first to read it. hell, we just went to see Fun Home together, I think she can deal.

My favorite part of the postcard is the silly doodle by the stamp:

"ANARCHY
QUEER
PERVERSION
CHAOS
Revolution
(American flags make me want to spew ideological rhetoric. Excuse the dribble.)"

SEV and I exchanged correspondence for many years after college and I always loved her droll humor.

Happy Pride to all!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Clearing out the cobwebs

I feel so random this week. For the first time in months, I've got some space to focus on various projects that I've planned (and the state of my apartment, which is a fright), but I keep bouncing back and forth between wanting to do all of it, RIGHT NOW, and sinking into deep inertia.

Nevertheless, I managed to get a few postcards out the door this week:
I picked up this postcard of Ellen Degeneres (photographed by Annie Liebowitz) a few years back and every time I've thought of sending it, I put it back in the box. Why? Perhaps because the picture is so relentlessly '90s (taken in 1997), perhaps because the image is such a contrast from the Ellen of today: she's now America's Lesbian, the soft androgyne next door, safely quirky but still feminine enough to be a Cover Girl. That's not a knock on Ellen - disliking Ellen is like kicking a puppy - but it can be hard to remember when her very Ellen-ness was considered feral, dangerous even.

Anyway, it's Pride month so I thought it was time to send it OUT in the the world (see what I did there?).



This one, on the other hand, I've been holding on to because it's just so cool



I've been on a Mad Men kick - I know, who hasn't been? But I never watched the show until a few months ago and I've been tearing through the first 6.5 seasons, only to wait for the final episodes to be released on Netflix several more months down the road. I can't say this image quite matches up to anything I've seen on the show, but it looks like it could. Plus, this lady, in her fabulous dress that I would love to wear, looks like a distant predecessor to the sketched out guy above with his boom box.

Also: Alert! Alert! The new postcard stamps are out and appear to be of the forever variety. FINALLY!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Vaults #10, non-family edition

I am pretty informal about keeping up with this blog - pretty sure I skipped about a year and a half in there -  and occasionally I go back and realize with horror how frequently I repeat myself. I prefer to think of it as just having some strong themes in my life, but it's probably a sign I'm losing my marbles. I'd do well to peruse the last couple of posts before setting imaginary pen to paper.

It's come to my attention that the last several posts from the vaults have been from and about My Awesome Sister. It's true that she has been my most consistent correspondent through the years, and she had a flair for great cards and words - but it's time to mix it up. I do have postcards from other people. People with no family ties whatsoever, even.

Like this one, sent in July 1985, the summer between 10th and 11th grade, from my soon-to-be roommate (as always, everything is [sic]):

"Is tiger punchy?" is the title on the back
J,

I hope your mom doesn't take this the wrong way, but just that I love sleep! I found a really good post card shop (I'm at the shore, not UNIONVILLE) you'll have to bring them to decorate our room. Yesterday I saw A.M., it was really strange, but she was really nice! She cut her hair and it looks really good. She said she's going to be in W. chester the rest of the summer. It's pretty nice here, but there are 10,000 surfers and their girlfriends. I saw a Circle Jerk record, I might get it but I've only heard 1 of the songs on the radio. If you want, we should go to the UB40 concert with MB & her friend Andy (I guess you might want to save your money for England. OH WELL.

I hope you can read this, it's a mess
Love,
     Love,
          Love,
              Love,                





If you've read through previous archives, you might recognize the writing style from this entry. Abijah was another one who always found great and interesting postcards and she always wrote in a way that I could actually hear her voice leap off the page.

The back of the postcard has some random text printed at the bottom: Mirrored in a serene canal, a venerable home appears as in a dream - a haunt of silence broken only by the whisper of water cradling a boat and the echo of a boy's footsteps on paving stones. Its shuttered windows seem to blink like eyes closing in sleep. (The word echo is underlined by Abijah because we were into Echo and the Bunnymen, of course).

This postcard was made by a California-based outfit called hold the mustard productions. I see that they are still around, which surprises me. I may have to order some from their site. You can even order today's featured postcard!

Ah! I just noticed that there is a little heart and name of a boy that I sort of had a crush on underneath the postmark. Brat.




Thursday, June 11, 2015

From the Vaults #9

It's TBT time! Earlier this week I saw a meme on Facebook claiming that it was "Back to the Future Day!!" - it wasn't, but in Marty McFly's honor, here's a postcard from My Awesome Sister dated March 1985:


Erastus Salisbury Field, The Garden of Eden ca. 1860
"Dear J,    Thanks so much for your letter! Glad to hear you're playing I.M. Tennis instead of track. It has been physiologically proven that some people are born sprinters and some are born long-distance runners. It has to do with the % of 2 types of muscle tissue that you have. I know I cannot run more than 2 miles max. Maybe you're a sprinter too.
      "I went to see a great exhibit at the Boston Art Museum last weekend. This was one of the paintings there. Go see 'Private Function' or 'Stranger Than Paradise' if you go to the movies soon. I saw both this past week. 'Amadeus' is pretty good too...I'll be seeing you on Long Island soon. Bring your jelly beans!
lots of love, A"

Fact: I am neither a sprinter nor a long-distance runner. I loathe running. My high school had no gym classes, so we were required to participate in after school sports. There were a certain number of quarters that you had to do competitive team sports, and others where you could be more casual about it. Sometimes you would have to try to be sporty and only after sucking very, very badly at everything were you allowed to go do what you wanted. That spring, I had to try out for the lacrosse team (long sticks and hard rubber balls constantly flying at your face = frightening!), then I had to try track and field, which made my teeth hurt after about 25 yards. Eventually I was released into the luxury of "Intramural Tennis", which involved carrying a tennis racquet and calling each other Muffy while chasing down all the balls that we let slip past.

This isn't to say that I dislike exercise, or being athletic. I mean, NOW I don't dislike it. As a teenager? Sports were supremely uncool. And running still sux.

I know I've seen Amadeus (impossible to avoid in the '80s), And I might have seen Stranger Than Paradise - although now that I think about it, I think I'm confusing it with Down By Law - but I am positive I never saw A Private Function.

Coincidentally, I'll be seeing My Awesome Sister on Long Island in just two weeks. Her note on the front of the postcard refers to the trip she was to take later that summer to Kenya to study rhinoceroseseses (rhinoceri?).




Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring Flings and a PSA

The last 6 weeks have been a whirlwind. Two quick trips, huge work projects, a move, and a week of illness meant that there wasn't a lot of room for writing, despite the renewed sense of purpose in my last post. I had hoped to send some actual Wish You Were Here postcards during my travels, but both sojourns were brief, and I was woefully unprepared.

DC/Baltimore:


One of my oldest and dearest friends, Katja 7, got married in April. I flew into DC and spent a few days there, but the wedding was held at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. It was an exquisite location for a wedding, especially for two creative people who wanted to ensure a magical environment for their less-than-traditional nuptials (about an hour into the initial reception, the bartender asked me "So...what exactly is the theme here?", eliciting a poor description of steampunk from me - there was no actual theme, but there were lots of wings, tutus, and the groom wore full on steampunk regalia). That egg, with its mosaic of mirrors, was a real hit. 

I did write this postcard while back in DC, but I didn't bring any stamps, so I handed it to Tilly when I returned. Postcard fail.

Chicago:

Willis Tower Skyledge
Two weeks ago I was in Chicago for a weekend. I spent one day being super touristy: Grant Park, Millenium Park, riverwalk, Navy Pier, water taxi, Sears Willis* Tower, riding the Loop, architectural boat tour. It was a great day, and totally exhausting. Normally I wouldn't bother with any tourist trap that involves huge crowds or long lines, but it was a cloudy day, so I was able to get up to the top of  Sears Tower relatively quickly. The more tedious line was waiting to step into one of these little boxes that let you go 4 feet outside the building, 103 floors up. Watching the reactions of those who went before me was better than doing it myself, to be honest. The people in the postcard are NOT drawn to scale, by the way. A person kneeling like the fake photographer in the left would take up most of her side of the box.

I brought stamps this time, but not my address book, so even though I bought several postcards in Chicago, I could only mail one to my mom, because I know her address by heart. Postcard semi-fail.

* Apparently, all of Chicago resents the renaming of this building and still calls it Sears Tower, so I do too.

Public Service Announcement:
Effective June 1 (tomorrow!), postage rates are going up. First class letter stamps are staying at $0.49, but extra ounces will cost you another penny, and so will postcards ($0.35 - still a bargain!). It bugs me to no end that there are no forever stamps available for postcards. I tried to get some of the new rate stamps at the post office last week, but was told they wouldn't be available until the price changed. How irritating. Especially because they last raised the rates right after I'd bought a roll of 100 postcard stamps, so I've been adding a 1-cent stamp for two years now.

I did manage to get one final postcard out the door yesterday under the old rate:


Sent to a friend I haven't seen since college who spent Day Two of my Chicago adventure with me in Wicker Park.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Death and Taxes

It's tax day in the US, so the postal service will be busy today - or will it? Is filing by mail still much of a thing? I never like waiting until April 15 to do my taxes - occasionally I've filed on or near the deadline if I've owed money, but in those cases I've prepared my return early. I both like and hate deadlines - they are great motivators, but I don't like getting too close to them without having everything sorted. I think my many years of poor study habits and scholastic procrastination have scarred me for life.

I'm going through a round of de-cluttering, opening drawers that haven't seen the light of day for many years. Some highlights: meeting notes from my dance company days; strongly worded letters to a previous landlord, a stereo manufacturer, the phone company; planning notes for a 1999 vacation to Maui; a school binder from 1983 that made me rethink the quality of my education. More postcards, of course, both blank and received, as well as scraps of letters. One letter in particular stood out - it was written over the course of several days (as one did back then), and essentially nothing happened in all that time. It was a letter about the ennui of living in a small town where little things can have huge impacts but nothing really changes. This sort of rumination feels so foreign to me now. Connection and communication is so instantaneous that I can't even imagine the patience required to document such stillness, but part of me remembers filling pages and pages with "nothing is going on". It's remarkable how great it is to read that again so many years later.

The result is a renewed burst of energy around correspondence. I still haven't felt the call (or had the time) to write an actual letter, but a couple of postcards did manage to make it out the door, fighting for the postman's attention this week.

From the Mark Mothersbaugh (DEVO) collection:

I identify with this too many mornings


A promotional postcard for a show I was in last year. The back was filled with information about the show, so I covered it with blank mailing labels to create writing space.

There was another postcard I sent in a hurry without scanning - I've got more copies of it, may add later.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Resurrection (almost)

It's been a little crazy the last few weeks, but I woke up this morning and realized I have an entire day with no plans. Actually, that's not true - I'm cleaning out old files, which are currently strewn across the floor below me as I type. There is so much paper that I may just start a trend of wallpapering floors. But nothing is scheduled, so it still feels like I've got this whole luxurious day ahead of me. I think I'll procrastinate and take a look at some of the great mail I got last month:
 

Artist: Erica Jane Huntzinger (no title listed)
I love this postcard. Green is my favorite color and the chaotic randomness of it feels a bit like my brain some days. From a friend who, unknown to me, moved some months ago. Fortunately my postcard in February found her - and I just scheduled a weekend getaway in her city, so I hope to see her face to face in May.

Egon Schiele, Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Standing (1915)
 From my Mom:

"I tend to buy my postcards from museums so I can remember paintings or pieces I like/love. This is a lovely portraint of Schiele's wife, who was so young when she died. The dress is an astonishment of color and form - all those beautiful stripes - but does not distract from her lovely face. Now she's yours!"

I do the same thing when I am visiting museums - buy postcards of pieces I want to remember.


Ha! A friend who bought the naughty postcards collection read this post from 2 years ago where I kvetched about having to part with this postcard and she sent it to me. Score!

Of course, this makes me feel terribly guilty, as I haven't responded to any of these yet. Perhaps the paper carpet will have to wait just a little longer. Did I mention that I found a bunch of postcards shoved in files from 15-20 years ago during the excavation? I'm more than a little sad that eventually I will be an organized person and I'll stop finding them everywhere.

Oh, and the Easter part of this post: I'm making homemade cadbury creme eggs. Very messy, very delicious little sugar bombs.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Madness

The only reason I know March Madness is upon us is that I went to watch The Amazing Race on Friday night, and instead there was basketball. I follow WNBA and figure skating, so I know the thrill of getting your non-traditional sport on the air, but still: meh.

March has been a bit mad. I've been trying to downsize my things (so painful), and getting organized generally means making a big fat mess first. Needless to say, I haven't managed to send anything in the mail in weeks. I've had more return correspondence from LetterMo this year than any other, which is fantastic but also makes me appreciate why we default to easier methods of communication (social media). My goal is to get at least two postcards out the door today.

In the meantime, here is the end of February so we can all move on...

Mailed Feb 20:

I think I sent this to my mom, who has been very nice about not getting as many postcards as when I first started doing this (and had fewer people to send mail to). In fact, she sends me great postcards herself.

 Mailed Feb 21
photo: Herb Ritts 1993
Last month there was internet chatter about unretouched photos of Cindy Crawford in a bikini, demonstrating her fitness but also very human-looking 47-year-old-2-kid-bearing stomach. I'm not sure those photos were real, but it did prompt a discussion with Tilly, and she recalled this image, which came out in the '90s and was quite famous (for the kids: that's k.d. lang in the chair). I actually already had this postcard. Of course.

Mailed Feb 24 (2):
The Two Fridas, 1939 Frida Kahlo
From the Frida Kahlo postcard book I bought in college. One of my favorite images. This postcard used to hang on my wall and has a lot of tape scarring.


Edward Gorey
In 2013 I hosted a couchsurfer from Montreal who'd been staying on a farm on Whidbey Island. She brought lavender and zucchini as host gifts, and also a pile postcards and told me to choose one. This was the winner, hands down. I didn't write down the title of this image - I believe it's from a postcard collection called Mysterious Messages.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday the 13th

It's the freakiest Friday, and I'm starting off with a postcard mailed a month ago. I blame having two Friday the 13thses in a row.

Sent Friday the 13th (of February):


This is a 3-D postcard, which doesn't really translate to digital format, but I dig the way you can kind of see what is going on there.

Sent Feb 14:

Valentine's Day! This was sent to the fabulous Katja 7, whose nuptials are right around the corner. I keep trying to goad her into some Bridezilla moments for my entertainment and she just won't do it. She's so hands off about this wedding I'm a little worried she'll forget to come. This attitude toward the bridal industrial complex speaks to our long lasting friendship, but I'm still hoping for a tiny meltdown somewhere along the way. Because I'm evillle.