150 Years of Postcards

After I wrote my latest Inlandia Literary Journeys column for the Southern California News Group in which I encouraged people to send postcards to those in varying degrees of isolation due to the Covid pandemic, I learned that October 1, 2019 marked the 150th anniversary of the first postcard.

The Universal Postal Union organized a celebration of the postcard and created a website along with Postcrossings describing the history of postcards.

Poets should note that next year will be the fifteenth anniversary of the Seattle Poetics LAB‘s August Poetry Postcard Festival. Registration to participate in the exchange of original poems through postcards begins in September of 2020. The project is a fun way to encourage yourself to write a series of new poems.

If you would like to receive a postcard from a random person in the world, consider joining Postcrossings.

I hope you will take the time to send a postcard today.

Directions for My Poetic Voices: Open to Air Reading at LLU

Take the 10 to Anderson/Tippecanoe. Exit and head South on Anderson St. towards the hospital. You’ll pass on the right a Del Taco and Loma Linda Academy. After you cross Academy Way/Van Leuven St, you’ll head up the hill and cross over the railroad tracks. The picture below shows the view as your coming down the railroad overpass. You want to get in the far right lane.

Turn right onto Stewart Street.

Get into the left lane on Stewart as you head under the pedestrian bridge. Get into the far left lane. Turn left onto Campus at the stop sign.

You will drive up to the corner of Campus and University. The Coleman Pavillion is actually up ahead on the left, but your best bet for parking it off University.

Turn right onto University.

You will make a left just past the parking garage.

The entrance is divided. Be sure to get into the right side. There may be spikes on the left.

Drive straight forward until the parking lot has a T. Your going left into the parking garage. There is no fee to park in this garage.

Find parking inside the garage and exit the garage so you are on the sidewalk facing the construction being done on the church on the other side of Campus St. Use the cross walk to get to the other side of Campus.

You should see a bus stop as you are walking up the hill on Campus St.

You can walk through the parking lot just past the bus stop to reach the Coleman Pavilion.

This is what the building looks like from the front.

Inside the from entrance, want to immediately turn left towards the elevators.

Be careful of the poster advertising the event. These posters were inside the entrance on the Friday before the reading. In the hallway on the opposite side of where you want to get the elevator. Who knows where they will be on the day of the reading. They are mobile as you can see.

Next to the elevator is a directory. You are headed to the Faculty Lounge on Level 2. You will be entering the elevator on Level A. Push the 2.

When the doors of the elevator open on Level Two, you will see the Brian and Maureen Bull School of Medicine Lounge straight ahead.

The doors will likely be open. This sign is to the right of the doors.

This sign is to the left of the doors.

The doors of the lounge were closed for an event when I did my reconnaissance, so I didn’t get to see the actual venue. The event is not ticketed so come early to get the best seating.

Book Letters

I wanted to create something special for my friend Victoria Waddle’s birthday. I imagined her initials made out of open books.

I started playing with a physical copy of Robinson Crusoe to determine the general shapes and the component parts of the end view of an open book.
I cut a piece of paper the size of my linoleum block and sketched out my design. I then taped the design to a block and went over the lines pressing firmly. Since her initials are V and W, I didn’t have to worry about flipping them so they would turn out facing the correct direction when printed. If her initials included letters like D, B, or E, I would have had to invert the image on the block so the letters would print facing the correct direction.
My retracing of the drawing left a faint in impression on the block.
After I removed the paper, I penciled over the impressions to make the design more visible.
I began outline the design with a small V-gouge.
The areas of the block that are uncut become the areas that print. You carve out the negative spaces of the design. In this photo I’m beginning to use a large V-gouge to remove the open spaces surrounding the book forming the letter V. I chose not to texturize the area immediately around the book since I want the view to focus on the V shape of the book.
I carved out the negative space with a design so if it accidentally got inked that it would add to the piece. I also like to think of my block itself as object of art.
Having played with a physical book while creating my design, I chose to place the book-letters in my design inside a bookcase. Without the support of the bookshelf frame, a real book would open flat.
Here’s the block before a test print.

I tested the block using some black ink. The first impression (bottom left) showed some of the lines in the negative space. I carved them lower to remove them from the print (top right). I created a cut-out form (upper right) to help me align the block with the paper. I ended up choosing blue ink for the final print (bottom right).

I matted and framed the print before wrapping it as a gift.

Commonplace Books

Recently, I’ve been exploring the use of a commonplace book for myself and for my students. My Inlandia Literary Journeys column for this morning appeared in The Press Enterprise, The Inland Valley Bulletin, and the San Bernardino Sun.