I have committed myself to a year of documenting the mail I send away. 30, 40, 50 pieces of mail so far. But every picture, every scan, everything saved, I think, erases a bit of what I send off. Part of the process for me, I am now realizing, has always been the losing.
At the Inauguration of the People's Post Office, stations were set up
throughout Elsewhere. Each station corresponded with a category in one
of the post office boxes available at the PPO. Participants then
deposited their letters in the appropriate box-- jump starting the mail
Here are some of the letters: Notes Written In School:Letters to No One: Postcards with Private Love Notes:
I have spent two weeks a nervous wreck, unable to write about it here because it was all such an unsure secret.
i have been looking for my mystery South Carolina penpal, a stranger who contacted me on the internet to be her penpal.
my plan was to drive to her address three hours away with Elsewherians Mary, Sarah, and Ian. The three would deliver a singing telegram and paper invitation for her to come to meet me in person for the first time ever in front of everyone at my Artist Conversation Friday.
but we discovered, upon arrival, that she didn't live at the address i had for her. a woman named Delecta Rollins, a mean man, and a baby lived there. a neighbor said no on named Lily had ever lived there.
was she a lie? did she move and not tell me?
we spent the day searching for her, asking neighbors, visiting former places of employment, and wandering around apartment complexes in the town a neighbor said she'd moved to, all to no avail. maybe this is called stalking. it started out as a nice surprise.
by the end of the day, we had a lot of video footage of our emotional crash and the dissapointment of not finding her. i edited into a documentary to show at my conversation, in lieu of her coming.
but in an anticlimactic homage to the miracles of the internet, i contacted her on myspace, and she agreed to come to my conversation!
i decided not to tell her about the documentary and the stalking, in case she would then decide not to come. the days before she arrived were a nervous tornado. what if she didn't come? what is she hated me for stalking her? what if we had nothing to say to each other?
but it was perfect. more perfect than it could ever have been, and she wasn't angry and she hugged me, lke her first letter promised, and she played songs on the guitar that she had written about penpals and us, and she brought her marvelous family. the conversation was easy and nice, even in front of the crowd.
afterwards, everyone came inside and wrote letters to fill up the post office boxes i made. there were stations scattered around the space, and so many letters were deposited. it was amazing. i spent last night reading them all. so many people have so many secrets that they are waiting for any opportunity to anonymously dump into the world.
there was also a pen pal song-writing time, recorded here: much of it is inaudible, but two songs by Lily come through pretty well-- one at the beginning and one at the very end. turn your speakers up up up.