Category Archives: Letters from Russia

epistolary literature project with letters ostensibly written by a cobbler in Napoleon’s army marching to Russia, with paintings + illustrations – bound with hemp, wood and vellum

“Letters from Russia” serialized in Exode periodical

"Letters from Russia" dossier (wood, hemp, paper etc) by Dave Thorvald Olson, as photographed by Carla Bergman at Northern Voice conference, 2008
“Letters from Russia” dossier (wood, hemp, paper etc) by Dave Thorvald Olson, as photographed by Carla Bergman at Northern Voice conference, 2008

My work of fictional epistolary literature project “Letters from Russia” is serialized in the writing & essays section in Exode.ca — a new online magazine whose mission described thusly: By showcasing and diffusing creative work on the web, we seek to give artists the exposure and recognition that their work merits.

Letters from Russia is a mixed media work including hand-written letters, paintings, sketches, and book crafts. The version in Exode contains just the text narrative done up in charming design.

As of this writing Letter One and Letter Two are posted — with another dozen letters to follow weekly.

The gist: Letters From Russia offers hilosophical discourse on war and love written as letters from a cobbler with Napoleon’s army in Russia, to his fiance in Paris. The letters chronicle the logistics of the protagonists’ journey plus observations about all manner of conundrums related to international trade, diplomacy, physiology of war, and individual liberty versus requirements of society.

Plenty of more background including prezo videos, downloadable .pdfs and interviews are scattered amidst this journal for your perusal, including:

Letters from Russia, notes for “Rainzine”

“…Wee notebook in tow to augment @rainzine #lettersfromrussia project with dossier notes”

Letters from Russia: Print and Notes for Rainzine
Letters from Russia: Print and Notes for Rainzine

Continue reading Letters from Russia, notes for “Rainzine”

Letters from Russia preso video from Northern Voice

Letters from Russia preso video from Northern Voice

“Letters from Russia” – prezo video from Northern Voice, 2009

NV09 Letters from Russia from Singular Software on Vimeo.

Bruce Sharpe (who co-created an essential bit of software for audio production called Levelator and is an all around nice guy) shepherded a project to crowd-source and prepare quality video of Northern Voice 09 including Letters from Russia.

For more about the spiel and project – plus comments, tweets, blog posts etc. from the talk – visit: Letters from Russia Recap from Northern Voice 09

Here’s Bruce’s intro the Letters from Russia post at 25 Hour Day:

Dave Olson talks about the sources of inspiration, the creative process and publishing your work in this lively mixed-media presentation. Watch this and you’ll understand why Dave has been dubbed a “local cultural artifact”. From Northern Voice 2009. Note: Contains adult language.

And from @brucesharpe on Twitter:

Uncle Weed is in fine form as he illuminates the creative process behind Letters from Russia. From #northernvoice09

He and others – including my buddy Dale – made sure to mic up the presenters and set up a good angle for the shots. As the guy on the other end of the lens, i truly appreciate their work to provide a cool artifact from the preso (although i must admit my shock at seeing my decreasing hair follicles!) – my Mom will likely enjoy it as well ;-).

“Letters from Russia” – a preso from Northern Voice, 2009 (audio)

He's a poet, dontcha know? - Northern Voice 2009
photo by randy stewart >> He’s a poet, dontcha know? – Northern Voice 2009 (CC) Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com.

Blurb: Whether blog article, photo, video, podcast – social media should tell a story. The best stories are retold and shared with others, and the very best stories create conversations which might live on for generations.

How does a content creator elevate their work from craft to art? The same creative parameters apply whether the delivery method is digital or analog or both. When applied with vigour, the work elevates to something beyond an ephemeral musing.

Using a mixed-media project called “Letters from Russia” as a example, Dave discusses practical tactics for harnessing inspiration, plotting the big picture, grinding out the “real work”, and finally creating a satisfying tangible artifact.

Including the role of blogs, podcasts, reader interaction, RSS, and self-publishing with chapbooks and/or on-demand web services as efficient methods of sharing and distributing the project to an audience.

Build your book with: “Letters from Russia” – a preso from Northern Voice (48MB, 34:31, 192k mp3)

More: 

“Letters from Russia” – prezo re-cap from Northern Voice, 2009

Letters from Russia in action by Retrocactus on Flickr

Overview

Here’s everything to do with my presentation of Letters from Russia at Northern Voice 2009 – a volunteer run social media conference in year #5 and Canada’s biggest shindig of its ilk.

Letters from Russia: Folio, letter 4
Letters from Russia – page from dossier of letters

I am in year 4 of presenting my mixed-media messages to a diverse and enthused audience. Previous years included Fck Stats, Make Art; 3 Ps of Podcasting; and Blogging your Passion. This year i also participated in a panel “Social Media and the Olympics: Then and Now” and moderated “Rock n’ Roll Photo” panel.

Continue reading “Letters from Russia” – prezo re-cap from Northern Voice, 2009

“Letters from Russia” discussion on “Write Now!” radio show – interview transcription

DJ Snailmail:  Our guest tonight for “Write Now, The Art & Action of Letter writing” is a letter-writer of sorts and a storyteller Dave Olson out of Vancouver, British Columbia.  Dave, can you tell me about the two websites that I visited there? Can you talk about those two; I’m not sure, the podcast one and the other one?

Dave: Sure.  Well, I do a whole bunch of different writing and creative projects and uncleweed.net (note: now daveostory.com)  is my home for all my creative arts and crafts I make, whether it be my writing projects or academic projects, and then I do a bunch of podcasts.

Continue reading “Letters from Russia” discussion on “Write Now!” radio show – interview transcription

Letters from Russia on “Write Now!” show – Santa Cruz Free Radio (2008)

Countryside

Stamp your envelope for: Letters from Russia on Santa Cruz Free Radio (.mp3, 57:07, 26MB)

Blurb

DJ Snailmail and DJ Anon discuss Letters from Russia with writer Dave Thorvald Olson on the WriteNow! The Art & Action of Letterwriting show, Dec. 2007 on Santa Cruz Free Radio – Low-power unlicensed station – also streaming live.

Thanks to DJ Snailmail and Bread the Producer

Subscribe: 

Background notes about Letters from Russia for “Write Now! The Art & Action of Letter Writing “

letters from russia notes for rainzine
Letters from Russia Dossier w/backstory for @rainzine – made with old-timey Underwood typewriter & Thai mulberry paper

In prep for a chat on “Write Now! The Art & Action of Letter Writing w/ DJ Snail Mail” on Free Radio Santa Cruz’s about my Letters from Russia project, i jotted down some a bit of backstory which i’m posting here lest i misplace and to share with others with interest.  So, … here ya go :

I started writing LfR while at an Evergreen College week long course “Poets and Philosophers Discuss Love and War” at Lake Crescent, WA. I had prepared with much reading about the historical context so i could make the story accurate. I then charted out the philosophical topics to address during Herni’s political transformation and personal journey.

I wrote each letter separately, handwritten on different papers and different writing instruments and only taking a piece or two to keep the letters brief and intense. Each letter was written while out on a walk/hike (so i could be in character a bit i suppose) and i didn’t edit from the original letters at all.

I also sketched/painted that summer to fill out the story and help me visualize his world and support the letters by replacing some visual narrative – and finally bound the original letters and paintings in a wood/hemp book (a few are at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uncleweed/tags/lettersfromrussia/).

I lived overseas (Japan, Micronesia) quite a bit pre-Internet so am an enthusiast of printed letters and papercraft (I collect paper ephemera from trips).

I’d very much like to find someone with some deeper historical knowledge to give a read to see if there are glaring historical
inaccuracies – though i am sure on the dates and locations – before distributing the piece more broadly.

“Letters from Russia” to appear on “Write Now!” show on Santa Cruz Freak Radio

CountrysideReceived a lovely note from DJ Snailmail who creates a show (with her colleague DJ Anon) on Santa Cruz Free Radio called “WriteNow! The Art and Action of Letter-writing” expressing an interest in reading my Letters From Russia project.

In case you missed it … LFR (Letters from Russia (.pdf)- war & love epistletory discourse) is written as a series of 14 letters and a “declaration” ostensibly by a cobbler in Napoleon’s army in Russia 1812, to his lover in Paris. It evolved into multi-medium art project with a series of illustrations, paintings and papercraft all bundled in a handmade book of hemp and wood and twine.

Campsite from Letters From RussiaAnyhow, here’s more about the show – i’ll be on to talk about using letter writing a a literary device and the process i used and philosophical underpinnings and inspirations of the content.

“WriteNow! The Art and Action of Letter-writing.” The program explores the art, value and action of letter-writing, basically all aspects of letter- writing, specifically snailmail and handwritten letters. It’s on Tuesdays from 8-9pm on Free Radio Santa Cruz (101.1FM and streamed at Freakradio.org).

And i’m a sucker for civil disobedience, ergo:

In full disclosure, Free Radio Santa Cruz (FRSC) is a 100% volunteer collective and we do not make any money in this effort. FRSC has been on the air for over ten years without an FCC license. freakradio.org/about.html