Postcard Memoir tells Multiple Stories
For years I’ve been buying the affordable art of mass-produced postcards and stashing them. Each postcard memoir captures a time, place, and the time-space my head was in when I bought the card! Now that I’m doing some downsizing and upcycling, I am finally writing and mailing them! Each post card has a personal message, and each has a quotation appropriate to the art and the recipient and my message! As I write these cards, they bring memories to the surface of places and of states of mind.
“The world before us is a postcard, and I imagine the story we are writing on it.”
― Mary E. Pearson, The Miles Between
Memories of Choice
How to make the choice when the postcard rack confronts you? Sometimes the post cards were free, so cool that they must have been printed by the business in hopes of free marketing when the senders mailed them, much like branded t-shirts are walking billboards when worn. So I have three from the House of Brews in Atlanta, showing their coat of arms.
Sometimes the post cards show a landscape or scene that’s readily identifiable, with the idea of sharing a little of the senders’ experience. These are postcards memoirs. One of my postcards has a bubble encasing a piece of the Berlin Wall, but I’m afraid it will never reach its destination. Too special?
And sometimes the post cards are of art, either from a museum or a photo of a maker. So I have a pop-art rendition of the Mona Lisa in pink from New York; a welder in full gear from the Arco Santi living experiment in Arizona, Carl Sandburg’s portrait, and a sketch of windmill works from the Museummolen in Schermerhorn. But again, do I dare mail the card showing Audrey Flack’s Egyptian Rocket Goddess, a 41” tall bronze statuette? It will take fortune and Lady Luck to find the right quotation for that card.
Postcards as Art
Meanwhile, the memories that post cards bring attract artists’ commentary. I bought one of the “Postcards from the Inside” series at a Paducah, KY gallery by Michael (the Mud Poet) Terra. The hangable ceramic post card reads, “Every one of these gray hairs has a story, and if you’re not careful, I might tell them to you.” It serves as inspiration as I wait for the next story to pop up in my email or in a phone call, a person calling to say, “Can you help save a life story?” Yes. The memoirs I help produce with Perfect Memoirs are longer than postcards, shorter than lives.
Today I visited Asheville, North Carolina’s amazing Momentum Gallery and found two small pieces by Greg Sand: Correspondence and Likeness. With a pile of postcards waiting for the right moment on my desk, I stopped to look at these two. And yes, I collect beautiful and quirky stamps, too!’
If you are a postcard saver, what ideas do you have to turn your postcards into new, useful art-functional or inspirational? Will you pass them on, digitize them, create a mobile, paper a wall? Or finally, put that card in the mail to decorate someone else’s refrigerator or office cubicle, however briefly.
You can create memory and art, a brief postcard memoir.