Monday, June 09, 2008
* * *
When I lived in South Korea, I kept a scrapbook. I'd been given a large journal (hardcover literary novel large) from my aunt, who remarked that she couldn't wait to read it when I was done.
I was aghast on many levels. I mean, someone not-me reading my journal? Or, more horrifying, having to construct a 'public' journal? No. Oh no.
So I collected scraps and started pasting things in, covering up as many of those horrid lines as I could. I also started making three dimensional things flat, mostly through force of will.
In addition to subverting my well-meaning but nosy aunt, it also was my first move away from the Word, which was necessary, given the fact that I lived in a space where the only English words I heard were my own and that of my colleagues.
I kept my bits of paper, my glue sticks, and dull scissors in the main drawer of my bureau. And I would just shove things in as I found them until I couldn't not start a new page or add to an old page. It was an itch.
I liked the glue cheap and the scissors dull. It was too decoupage-y, too collage-y, to trim the images too precisely or to cement them in place. The images that worked themselves loose were as much a part of the effect of the whole as anything else...
I added to the book over the fourteen months I was in Korea and even for a month or two after I returned home. And then it was done.
A few months later, Prairie Fire asked me to write an account of my stay for an issue of travel writing they had in the works.
Feeling anxious about my submission (alongside that of Karen Connelly and David Bergen!) and following a whim, I carted my heavy heavy scrapbook to the Prairie Fire office one day.
And was shocked and pleased when, a few weeks later, they asked to scan one of the pages for the back cover of the issue.
But I digress. Today, doing laundry, I saw the leaf/dried mushroom on the table next to the washing machine. And they seemed to be a cluster.
The itch. (All the walks in the forest, the bark and moss and mushrooms. The six years of kitchen gardens, the spadefuls of things we dug out of the ground around our 1904-built home.)
Having scratched, I turned to the bird's nest M brought me the other day. Having read the story in the Winnipeg Free Press about the drowned peregrine chicks on the 13th floor of the Radisson hotel after Friday's all-day deluge, I suddenly knew I'd be putting water on my new scanner.
M yelled when I told him not to look at what I was doing, one of my daughter's sippy cups in hand, but I did it anyways.