Thursday, September 08, 2005

Stranger Missives

I received an email from someone I've never met--but who I know via virtual poetry community-- asking if I would send a postcard of where I live to his daughter's 3rd grade class for a geography lesson. They hope to collect postcards from all over the states and beyond, and they ask that each postcard sender say a little something about him/herself. A lovely idea.. I'll be looking for a postcard of Chicago on my lunch hour today, if one is to be found in Evanston. I can't remember the last time, if ever, I sent a postcard from my hometown. Self: do that more often.
Then this morning I read this article in the Times about wandering journal projects and am determined to start a few of those too. Another item to get this afternoon. I'm interested in how the internet, the great force that was heralded to at once democratize and alienate global citizens, has brought about a return to more serendipitous notions of community, to the beauty of accidental communications, and a renewed interest in how people can communicate in the tangible world in new or arcane ways: meet-ups, flash mobs, stitch & bitches, etc. Shoot me an email if you'd like to participate in a wondering journal type of project. The idea is this:
Take this journal and add something to it. Stories, photographs, drawings, opinions. Anything goes. Visit the Web site and tell everyone where you found it. If possible, scan what you added and send it to us. If the journal is full, e-mail us, and we'll arrange for its return. Contents will be shared with the world.

This reminds me of walking along a beach at Agate Pass on Bainbridge Island last March with Drew and Amber and finding a message in a bottle. It was a thrill to come across it there, on a peopleless stretch of pebbled shore among lichens and seaweed left by the tide. A new twist on an old theme- it was in a Jones bottle, one of those gourmet sodas. We brought it home and waited for days to open it, until other friends were properly assembled, and after much speculation of what its contents would say and where it had been cast from. Finally Drew extracted the note, a brief scrawl that said something like "I guess you'll never notice me. I'm tired of trying. I can only imagine how it could have been for us. Guess I just need to drink a beer now. Yep. Probably." Then there was an elsive and unintelligable final word that no one among us could discern.
One other anonymous communicae in the last week and a half-- I was contacted by email by what I assume to be a teenage girl whose father bought all of our things that our storage space (unbeknownest to us) auctioned off. She has some photos and journals of mine, but she's trying to snooker me for $7 to get them back. After the initial upset of our possessions being sold and, at this point, irretrievable, I'm reluctant to engage in this transaction for ceremonial scraps any longer. It seems easier to chalk it all up to a loss in my mind rather than dwelling on the greater loss by focusing time and energy on the retrieval of these few remnants. It's already too similar to losing my hard drive this past February... on occassion I'll think of a particular photo and then realize it was from the time period that was wiped out without a printout or backup. It's a good exercise in detachment, I must say. And given what others have lost in the last week and a half in the south, it's all the more clear how insignificant STUFF is.


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