In 2007 an artist I had met at a show told me about an art book exhibit in Lincoln KS, thinking I might want to enter. Of course I did. It was called “This is a Book? This is a Book!” The books were meant to be unusual, works of art, not your ordinary paperback or hardback book. They were made of all sorts of things, in a variety of ways. As the catalog (a handmade book) states, “No possibility is unexplored. These ‘books’ are serious or humorous; simple or complex; flat or dimensional; one medium or many; fact or fiction; funny or whimsical. Everything goes.” The exhibit of 50 artists’ works lived in the Lincoln Art Center March 2-April 30, 2007. After I got mine back, I entered it in our local Boone County Art Show, but since then it has sat unnoticed by everyone but me on a high shelf in my studio.
The other day I was looking for things to make an assemblage and I took down my book, titled “One Excellent Year.” I thought I’d share it with you here.
I had just had our back deck enclosed to make a studio and I thought it would be cool to use pieces of the old wood siding for the pages of the book. Of course there would be writing and I wanted it to be new. I settled on the idea of a sort of calendar, so each verse represents a month. The writing of that was a truly beautiful experience. I’d sit at the computer, close my eyes, and words would just flow in. It felt spiritual, in a way. A memorable writing session, for sure. I believe all of the writing took just that one day. I was truly in the zone. Unforgettable.
The collage is mostly scrapbook papers and then my writing, cut up into little bits. And then loads of polyurethane to keep it all safe. I left all the little nail holes and cracks unfilled, with a view to preserving the slat board just as it came off the wall.
I could never let this piece go. I love the writing and the memory of writing it; I love the collage; I love that it’s made from pieces of my little house. It was wonderful to have it on exhibit, and to show it here at the bank show (NFS) but this was a true labor of love and it will remain among my most treasured pieces. It makes me happy.
As the June page, subtitled “Deep Happiness Settles” says, “And All notice that a gently spoken ‘Yes’ whooshes pleasantly through their mouths.” Yes. This is a book!
“A thousand dazzling Vegas turn bleak, when the soul shines with love’s labor.”― Abhijit Naskar, Honor He Wrote
“Work is love made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran
“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” – J.M. Barrie
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”