Monday, April 21, 2014

project 52:30

mixed media: paper, ink, acrylic

My brother and I are reading Virginia Woolf's The Waves together right now. I sent him a copy at Christmas, with a question: would you feel like reading this with me? This was Herb's favorite Woolf. For years, I'd been "saving it," knowing I would only have one opportunity to read it for the first time - and as I've read almost all of Woolf's novels at this point, I wanted to savor this masterpiece. Then Herb died.

I went to a bookstore in June, to pick up one of Woolf's early novels (Night and Day), as reading Woolf at the start of summer is a personal ritual. There it was  - The Waves, I mean - on the shelf. I picked it up. The back cover described it as a gathering of six friends (three men, three women) to mourn the death of a beloved friend, Percival. This was not a book I could read last summer. But I bought it, anyway, one of those weird grief-borne decisions. It sat on a bookshelf for half the year, quietly burning at the edges of my consciousness.

By winter, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist much longer. And so I appealed to my sibling for companionship. I thought it might be something nice to do together, on our opposite sides of this continent. Woolf is my all-time favorite writer; she makes me ache for humanity's foibles - and love them, too. She teaches me my own heart - and expands it. And there's a certain deep kinship I feel with my brother; he understands the hurt parts of my self better than just about anyone I know. We don't talk about it often, but I know he understands.

So. We are reading this book together. At first, he wasn't sure he liked it. But then he spent a nice long 90-minute workout session reading and gave Woolf the due her writing demands: focused attention - and I think she hooked him. =)

I combined a couple of phrases from the book concerning butterflies into this week's card. A sentence, describing Rhoda (coined by Louis): "Her shoulder-blades meet across her back like the wings of a small butterfly," and Louis' image of "butterfly powder" ("If, in my novel, I describe the sun on the window-sill, I shall look under B and find butterfly powder").

No prints this week; this card was made from layers and layers of glazing and spattered paint ... this kind of thing doesn't photograph well and it scans even worse. It's a one-off, ephemeral  - like those butterflies.

And here's a bonus: a shot from my brother of the missing postcard 27! That heron I found asleep in the park (left), and then a close-up of him giving me the stink-eye (right)!

More exciting things are brewing this week: I have some garden updates, and I'm experimenting with a traditional Japanese pickle that won't be ready for several days (but I'm documenting the stages, don't worry!).


StacySix said...

That's a very pretty card! Your handwriting is beautiful, too.

Abigail said...

This is a beautiful post. I'm glad you're reading the book. I imagine that there's still part of it that hurts, but I hope it's healing, too. Like when I made chocolate again for the first time after Jim. It hurt, but it made me feel connected to him. I hope the book, if it hurts, connects, too.

Love you.

fleur_delicious said...

Thanks, Stacy! I'm working on it; I've got a folder of fonts and handwriting on pinterest that is helping! =)

Yes, Abs, that's it, on the nose. It helps to have friends who understand this place. The anniversary - his birthday - is in 10 days. Gulp. Love you, too.