A while back I wrote a post that showed some mail art postcards that incorporated handwriting. I’ve been on a plan to improve my handwriting for some time and the topic keeps spilling into my artwork, too.
In the comments to the post I mentioned the technique of crossing lines of handwritten text, used in the past to save paper. You would write a letter, send it, and the recipient would cross the paper with their own words and send it back. I did various items in this style – I love the curly intertwined look.
Anyway, in the comments, Kerfe at Method Two Madness and I got to talking. The upshot of things is that we decided to try this crossing thing ourselves.
Long and short, we sent each other handwritten pages in the US Mail. Then, we crossed the received pages with our own words and sent them back. We ended up with our original letters and much more. Here’s my side of the experience. I’ll go in chronological order as it happened to me.
First, I wrote to Kerfe. I had no idea what to write. I kept putting it off. Finally I got hold of myself, took me and my pen and notebook over to the Dixon Meadow Preserve about 15 minutes from home (I wrote a post about this trip with some nice photos – look here). I walked out into the preserve and sat on a bench on the boardwalk in a beautiful sunny day.
I wrote a couple of pages about how it felt to be sitting in this place at this particular time – one day, unique. I felt at peace. Here are my handwritten results:
Mailing the letter was the next step. When I sent these pages off to Kerfe in the mail, I also sent her some photos, so she could see the place I was writing from.
Then, Kerfe’s letter to me arrived. I realize now I did not keep a copy of it as it appeared originally, but I know she has this image for you to see at her site. But I can tell you, she wrote an amusing narrative about handwriting itself as it has appeared in her life.
Once again, I was confused as to what I might write (Kerfe set a high standard). I settled for another stream of consciousness handwriting explosion, relating what was happening to me that very day.
Looking at this beautiful tangle of words, I wondered if she could read any of it. To help out, I typed out my words in the line formation they took on the page.
Well, the rain falls all morning and the sound
of it on the roof can make a drum corps sit
up and take notice and drive the thoughts
right out of your mind and send the cat
to hide down in the basement and I’d follow
him too but I’m a lot busier than the cat is
or so I’d like to think but maybe it’s all
just filling the hours every day all day
with the cooking (what do you think of a spinach
quiche for dinner?) and washing clothes
or at least taking the clothes to the washer
so the patient machine can do the work while
I watch and stand ready to assist with the
folding and so on all of the while considering
the idea of ironing, maybe later in the week
and washing the shelves where I store my clay
work in progress which I did manage to get a
load of tiles in the kiln, in fact they are in
there right how and I don’t know if you’ve
ever considered what it would be like to be a
clay tile in an 1800-degree kiln and is it worse
than a piece of bread in a toaster which of
course is a silly thing to imagine but more
interesting than counting ingredients for dinner?
Then things went a little off-center in my head. Somehow I got the idea to re-write the “poem” but in another voice (I did not handwrite it, I just typed.)
Well, it precipitates throughout the pre-noon hours and the noise
of it on the rolls of asphalt sheeting that form a covering on the house can make a percussion ensemble
pay attention and whip the cogitations
out of your head into the ether and compel the resident feline
to take cover in the lower levels of the house and I’d accompany him
but my obligations to the smooth running of my home occupy me fully, more so than any feline,
or that is my impression though perhaps the entirety of it is
mindless activities repeated over and over until I am dead
including food preparation (give me your opinion of a tasty spinach
egg pie for tonight’s meal) and laundering our garment collection
or at the minimum supplying the washing machine with a steady diet
so the ever-willing appliance can do the heavy lifting while
I observe and maintain my readiness to handle
making the garments drawer or hanger-ready and the like all while reflecting upon
the topic of pressing the clothes with a hot-plated instrument at a later time in this seven-day period
and cleaning the storage area where I maintain my supply of pre-ceramic material
work in progress my current backlog of which I have just today
fired up in the kiln, the assortment being located there at the moment and I wonder if you
might at some time have given thought to the experience of being
a clay tile in a hellish inferno of 1800 degrees F and comparing it to
that of a slice of bread enduring the electric coils of a toaster being admittedly
an asinine and senseless time-wasting thought path but of greater fascination
than enumerating the components of tonight’s dinner?
Then I did it again, one last time.
Whole lot of rain all blessed morning the racket
on the roof drown out a drummer standing on your head
deafen him you too if you could think that long
blow your last nerve and that cat knowing what was good for him
cowering in the basement me too
but I’m a whole lot more important than the blessed cat
I don’t think it I know it but sometimes I get the idea maybe it’s all just a whole lot of back and forth
spiced up with cooking things like spinach quiche (hoity-toity dinner night
once in a while, what is the matter with that?) and laundry blessed laundry
though thank the heavens I’m just putting it in the machine
not beating the clothes on a rock let the washer do that I say
It’s hard enough standing around
doing that folding until I lose patience just throw it in the basket thinking of
the blessed ironing sometime next century if I can put it off that long
and scrubbing down those filthy dusty shelves where I store the clay
masterpieces I make no it’s not a hobby I make MONEY at it and I did
get a load of those blessed tiles in the kiln
that’s blasting away at them right now and here’s a thought
a piece of dried mud stuck in an oven hot enough to melt metal and then
compared to an English muffin say in the toaster I laugh at you
bothering to listen to me and think about this it’s so dumb but it’s better than
figuring out how to make a spinach quiche for dinner, right?
I sent Kerfe a couple of photos of my basement to round out the package.
And some mail-art postcards composed of lists (I make a lot of lists) with some extra handwriting on them. I wanted to commemorate her theme of handwriting history.
The last part of this experience was receiving my letter, crossed by Kerfe. She did each page separately and in a different way. They are beautiful.
Here is my original page 1 now crossed by Kerfe, with her typed words below.
Here is my original page 2 now crossed by Kerfe, and with her words typed out below.
A friendship strengthened by the power of words, that’s where we end up. I am grateful.
Thanks for reading, and I hope for many good words to come your way today.