Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pretty but mean

You may remember Jessica's blog about posting my secrets- this is another idea like that.  Look carefully and under all the insects she wrote ps you give me the willies. Making a mean statement on a carefully drawn, hand made card, what a concept.  She wrote about how it was fun to think about this idea, like a fake fly in someones food; but wrote next there might not be much of a market for these kind of postcard sets.  Some days that passive aggressive side of me comes out, and I want to write a card that says something awful. What do you think, what would you write on the front (or back) of this kind of card? Jessica ended her card by saying she needed to draw to get her life back into a balance.  Hopefully February got out of your system pal!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


One of the things I like increasingly about this postcard project is that Lynn and I produce cards the other would never have thought to create. Checked boxes and leaves? Never would have occurred to me in my boxed in world - but I like it.

Lynn thought it was boring though, just like March. The month that if you live in Michigan drags on as if summer might never come, especially when it has 5 weeks in it like last year. Lynn wrote that she predicted March wouldn't be as long and tedious as if felt it might be looking out from its start, but knowing that didn't diminish the fact that she longed for excitement. 

We both have exciting changes brewing in our lives this year. I go between relishing mine, a new work opportunity outside of Ghana, and dreading the sad day when my move will happen. Ghana has seeped into my heart while I was busy with other things and suddenly I am realizing that it is going to be harder to leave than it was to arrive.

Another reality check that I cannot have it all. I spend time trying to find balance, or feeling bad because I have not found it, but perhaps a more achievable focus at this point would be to learn to weather these changes, to cross these lines with grace.  It's not easy-o.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Everything in its place...

Jessica drew all these objects in little boxes and wrote about how things in her life finally felt under control around this time last year! I wonder if that was a conscious or subconscious connection? She was feeling that she finally had a handle on her job responsibilities and life in Ghana.  She also wrote "p.s. I don't like this card very much!" Oh postal pal, sometimes the cards I make I don't like so much (they turn out much better in my head!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

January dirt

A snowy, dirty January inspired Lynn to create an ironic dirty fire hydrant card. The sort of postcard that would make you glad you are not with the person.

However, when she sat down to make it she didn't like how the first one turned out so she drew a second. Deciding both were equally imperfect, she sent me both. A bargain 2 for 1 deal that meant I received 2 postcards that I like and more dirt than I would have otherwise, since there was more room to write.
Not a bad end to a gloomy start.

Crazy Horse invented an atom bomb

We have to believe in the power of imagination
because it's all we have, and ours is stronger 
than theirs
-Lawrence Thorton.

Just before a recent work trip, a package arrived from a dear RPCV friend. It was filled with coffee, gum, dental floss and books (he knows me well). Sherman Alexie's The Lone Range and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven caught my eye, and I threw it in my bag as I was headed to the airport.

Reading about life on a US reservation while in Africa has led me to (again) think about what might have been.. Development theories are designed to explain why places like North America and Africa have developed the way they have but they do not satisfy my curiosity about the counterfactual. What if the slave trade had not extracted West Africa's strongest youth? What if the US had not had an influx of cheap labor? In the context of life on a reservation, Alexie's stories illustrate structural oppression, a disconnect between cultures, an epidemic of dis-empowerment and defeat - all themes of colonialism that run through the developing world even though they manifest themselves differently. What I like, and cannot help but share, is that while Alexie contemplates what might have been he turns this act of imagination into a powerful dream of what could be.

Imagine Crazy Horse invented the atom bomb in 1876 and detonated it over Washington, D.C. Would the urban Indians still be sprawled around a one-room apartment in the cable television reservation?.... Imagine Columbus landed in 1492 and some tribe or another drowned him the Ocean. Would Lester FallsApart be shoplifting in the 7-11?
There are so many possibilities in the reservation 7-11, so many methods of survival. Imagine every Skin on the reservation is the new lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones, on the cover of a rock-and-roll magazine. Image forgiveness is sold 2 for 1. Imagine every Indian is a video game with braids. Do you believe laughter can save us? All I know is that I count coyotes to help me sleep. Didn't you know? Imagination is the politics of dreams; imagination turns every word into a bottle rocket. ...imagine every day is Independence Day and save us from traveling the river changed; save us from hitchhiking the long road home. Imagine an escape. Imagine that your own shadow on the wall is a perfect door. Imagine a song stronger than penicillin. Imagine a spring with water that mends broken bones. Imagine a drum which wraps itself around your heart. Imagine a story that puts wood in the fireplace.

I won't try to make sweeping conclusions. Just wanted to share a heart's song to serve as chewing meat for the future. Back to our postcards pal...