Monday, September 19, 2011

Picton Summary

507 letters over 9 days for a total of 2,840 letters sorted into 47 Categories is the one leg summary of the Picton residency. I confess I never did get through all the letters in the hatbox (see Day 7 – Bonjour de Clova), not to worry, they are packed and will be among the first I tackle once installed in Minden.

It was nice to have the rest of the summer to sit with the project and consider future directions. In fact time and space are the two things that set the Picton residency apart.  I don’t know whether it was the long, lazy August days, the grandness of the bay window I was seated in or a combination of these elements that caused such a spike in the frequency and quality of my interactions with the public. One Books and Company patron remarked, “All of Picton can see you.” My retort: “Ah yes, and I can see all of Picton.” 

Sometimes out of the corner of my eye, I'd catch a glimpse of a passerby with a perplexed look. Others, deep in the heart of a letter, I'd have no idea I was being watched when I'd hear a gasp followed by the words, "Oh, I was just about to touch you to see if you were real - what are you doing?"   

And I’d tell them. On one occasion a man dashed off to corral the rest of his book club for a reading from a letter similar to one of the club’s more recent reads. Those of you who know The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will understand. I started with a letter written in Jersey in WWII, and finished with a suite of POW letters. Another time two women visiting from Germany helped me translate passages from a series of letters sent during the war.

For me the unique appeal of this project lies in the stories like these. I love that there are so many different ways to reach people and that I am there to witness it. I'm working on ways to make the project interactive for those of you who will probably never happen upon me in a store window. I hope you’ll check back in!

Reading from "Best Friends Forever"

Roll Credits...

Big Big Thanks...  

Alexandra Bake and David Sweet of  Books and Company
Rob Wilkes of Big Sky Design
Elizabeth Christie, Fine Art Storage
Rita Leistner Photography
Ian Taylor Photography
Ruth's Canteen
Chez Joan et Earle
my Picton Family
Cam & Fin 
the many people who donated letters, visited me in the window & on line  or sent people my way!

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