Dear M.

I'm sharing some thoughts on my project with you because I know how deeply you believe in me—and how little I share ideas with you before they're all done. 

I'm fascinated by Davey's repetitions, her recursions, the way she turns around and around an idea in her work, and from various distances. It's like when I was in art school and the kindest professor, Roger Ackling, sat with me in the canteen and acted out a scene from Samuel Beckett (Happy Days?) in which a man turns a stone around in his hands or through his clothes, up and down and around, and says, "happy, happy, yes." 

I've been studying Davey's black-and-white nude photographs of her sisters. You know what's weird, though? I don't really get them. Her writing got me pretty quickly. You know that I want to be able to write like her. The black-and-white photographs, though, they remind me of art photo tutorials in hobbyist magazines, from when people bought print magazines. If Davey hadn't returned to these images herself, hauled them out of the archive, I'm not sure that I would be printing them out, taping them to the wall, saving them to my phone, trying to figure them out, you know?

I think I'm making a judgement of quality, though I'm not sure—and in any case, it's open to revision. Or is it just that the images don't make sense (to me?) without the layers and circles of stories and images that Davey aligns them with? I think there's a relationship, somehow, to the network of inscriptions that archaeologists use. The stack of references sort of hold each other up. Or like Kristeva's chain of references that hold open possibilities around the Thing void. I don't know. 

Thanks for listening, dearest. 

Love, B.

 

[Credit to Tonya Foster's Poetics Lab love-letter writing prompt.]