Monday, August 16, 2010

War, Letters, Love

Pictured: Heath Proskin, Bill Minor, Richard Mayer.
Photo Credit: David Hall., Monterey Herald.

There is a project I've been a part of for a while called "Love Letters of Lynchburg" that is truly unique and interesting on many levels. Yesterday, we did a performance - a CD release party - that was a reading of love letters between two people from during the Civil War, backed by a live trio on an original score. All of it orchestrated by the charming and extraordinary Bill Minor, who happens to be distantly related to the two wartime lovers. Here is a link to an article about the performance that gives a little more background. I'm tempted just to copy and paste the article, since I'm not sure how long the link will be good for, but anyhoo...

It was one of those times when you realize late on the significance of what you're doing. Bill asked me to read the letters of Susan Leigh Blackford, essentially to be Susan, and I wouldn't think of saying no to Bill. Along the journey, I learned how fascinating she was, the time was, the relationship she had was, and yesterday, how much our merry little band could touch people with the story. As one person noted in thanking us, the exchange was plain and simple an anti-war statement, nevermind from a war none of us can remember or even imagine.

I want to refer back to two poems, of mine and of Ruth Fainlight - from which mine takes its architecture - that I posted on this blog two years ago. Fainlight's poem in fact speaks specifically of wartime letters again.

How much do you use pen and paper anymore? Do you? What can it change to see personal communication become electronic? What does each do to shape the time we're in? How do we participate in that shaping?


Susannah said...

I am very moved by your poem "Amsterdam Bar, March 2003," which captures a complete sensory memory of that time in vivid imagery and takes me back to that sense of betrayal I felt as the Iraq war was being instigated.

I was also moved yesterday at the reading of the letters, particularly by the powerful love communicated between the married couple throughout the years and tragedy of the civil war, and the love of country and humanity amidst such brutality, right in one's backyard, frontyard, homes.

Daryl said...

Fascinating stuff ... I dont think I write much more than reminder notes with pen on paper because as a lefty my handwriting was never good and now because I type all the time its even worse... does this shape the time we're in? I guess it must ... after all look at the Tea Party signs ..clearly poor penmanship and spelling abound.. what does that say about our education system?

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