Tag Archives: nick bantock

Letters from Russia / development notes, sketches, drafts

Letters from Russia, mixed-media epistolary literature project, 2004

In 2004, I created a mixed-media creative writing project called “Letters from Russia” which was meant to be a series of well,… *obviously* letters written from Russia from the point of view of a cobbler in Napoleon’s army to his lover in France. All in all an unlikely and complicated conceit conceived as was a way to discuss various topics around love and war.

Appropriately, was written/crafted as part of a program at Evergreen State College called “Poets and Philosophers Discuss Love and War” which was my final “seminar” (at Evergreen, you don’t take courses and classes, rather programs and seminars and independent contracts and other non-traditional interdisciplinary learning contexts). This program involved going to Lake Crescent on Olympic Peninsula with three faculty members with different specialties – philosophy, history and poetry/creative writing – staying in cabins, doing the Evergreen-ubiquitous group projects and assignments of various kinds but also working on an individual big project amidst mediation.

Unsurprisingly, I was keen to do something “big” to finish off my hard won Bachelor of Arts degree which spanned 17 years and four or five colleges/universities depending on how you count them. A “capstone” of a sort. {digression: previously thought a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing was my path and with that would come a big project/thesis or whatever, since that wasn’t going to happen, wanted to do something that felt like similar for personal satisfaction}

So, at the idyllic lakefront surrounding, i diligently worked along on this complicated house of cards – in between long stretches of partying, drinking racks of beer, usual herbs, one guy brought a motorboat and a gun – I mean none of it made sense.

I did a few of the assigned assignments (writing something about explaining peace to a banana slug or other contrived drudgery) while putting this project together in my head. I could imagine the finished product: wanted an “artifact” with tactility and vague sense of authenticity despite it being completely fictional.

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sparks of inspiration and outline

The finished result was series of letters written on different pieces of paper stock from my suitcase stationery stash, compiled to create the feeling that the protagonist “Henri” (all the characters were named after French Canadian hockey players) was with the army, scavenging any kind of paper he could find, and using different sorts of writing materials. Then I added a series of illustrations, paintings, other visual expressions in various medium and styles (and worked in the character of an Italian conscript with his unit who is a painter as an excuse to include these paintings).

let’s write in cursive with inky fountain pens on handmade paper, such authentic-ness

I wrote some test letters (readers may notice original drafts used a different name for the recipient of the letters) to try out some different papers, handwriting styles, pens and to find my rhythm. Once I found my rhythm it all came together very quickly but finding that vibe and materials and to start was a real challenge.

Continue reading Letters from Russia / development notes, sketches, drafts

Post’d: dossier arrived, well-stamped, from “WasNick”

mysteries within

Adding to my collection of precious items from Nick Bantock, writer of epistolary literature (noted for Griffin and Sabine series), fine artist of the finest – and exceptionally versatile –type, stamp maker (both inky and postal), and a font of wisdom and kindness.

As magnificent as this wrapping is, the contents were even more remarkable, to be shared under separate cover at some point.

Items: Sabine & Griffin postcard originals by Nick Bantock

From Sabine in London, to Griffin in Alexandria (along with stamps designed by Sabine from her “island home”)

Two original postcard backs from Griffin and Sabine series, part 2 “Sabine’s Notebook” are now in my archive along with the stamps used in the epistolary literature masterwork by Nick Bantock.

To Sabine from Griffin, Par Avion from Kyoto (along with Mr. Bantock’s Moo card)

Really great artifacts as the esteemed author/artist selected specific locations and topics for me. Of course, there are a few other related items throughout this archive if you’re curious.

Do you know these books? I hope so.

Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Sundry tasks:

get in number

Tended to an “important call with an official agency” about a significant life decision… Don’t mean to be vague, just floating it out to the universe, next step is visiting a consulate in Osaka, September 8.

(I really don’t like dealing with things by telephone, much prefer a written record – whether analog or electronic – and feel express myself much better when I have the time to choose words.)

So, just gonna play some baritone ukulele for a while.

Working on:
Atlantic City
Illegal Smile
Questionally
Carey
Hallelujah

Pretty good at:
Depreston
Moonriver
Monkey and the Engineer

In other news:

a box of frozen meat was delivered yesterday

also several more Nick Bantock books and a replica of Indiana Jones’s Journal showed up

stack of mysterious dispatches

wife’s industrial grade water pump also arrived

Oh, and tomorrow is “go clean the graves of the ancestors day“ / We’ll bring incense and flowers. [update: done x2]

More Items, arrived by post: various seeds, porridge, legumes and nuts.

many seeds, nuts, legumes and so on (also box of meat, not pictured)

These simple tasks of convenience thrill me and are a huge help for those who are mostly house-hermits (#MECFS) this is all, carry on with the world melting down etc

After grave tidy (incense, water, candles, flowers, prayers) Tidied up carport then hung out with Ichiro, playing with inky stamps & stationery, listening to groovy records in the slowly improving (warm!) first floor of the kura barn studio.

Its all possible, Ichiro making stamp art in a “Norman Rockwell-esque” pose (as a kind correspondent observed)

Disco theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”? Yes you have come to the right place. Evidence follows:

Take a spin around the first floor studio space which is made for: listening to music; hanging out and making art; eventual more craft making (paper and kintsugi); plus emergency/camping supplies, tea ceremony supplies and impending musical jam space
Continue reading Diary: sundry notes of ukulele, drums, stereo, handy items by post & slices of culture

Post’d: Dossier from Sicmon Islands (so to speak)

A dispatch arrived from the master of postcards (as well as epistolary literature, postal culture, stamp design and mixed media goodness) Nick Bantock, noted for the exceptional “Griffin and Sabine“ series as well as many other wonderful books of ephemera, pop-up art, and goodness knows how else to describe his unique creations.

the contents are splendid and the package, just as much so! the post office must love him

Going to open this carefully and frame the contents as well as the package.

{yes, that is my postal address and you can mail me things and I’ll send you something back usually}.

PS bonus, (lousy photo of) Griffun & Sabine books with Japanese “legend translation” pull-out

Redundant note: Griffin & Sabine is the start of an extraordinary correspondence which stretches out 7 books eventually. They’re all very mixed-media with pull out letters, fully-designed custom postcards, different fountain pens/typewriters for each of the characters, designed and printed stamps, both inky and postal. Published by Chronicle Books.

Items: Concorde in Jordan, Everest Aerogramme, stamps from Katin, and poetry from Sierras

Trains and Trams (and Fountain Pen) #daveo50

These Postcards come with a scribble note of unexpected affection from my official fountain pen, meanwhile, items by post of late (and late they are) include:

  • Everest First Day Cover Aerogramme
  • Inscribed book by ephemera art master
  • Poetry collection from a laureate
  • Concorde First Day Cover from a flight which may not be useful

Investigate below:

First day Everest Aerogramme, Aug 1, 1975, Nepal / waiting for destination.

There is only one postmaster authorized to use this stamp / do you know who? hints: #griffinandsabine #katin Yup, Nick Bantock and his new limited edition book “WasNick”.

There is always a Present Moment to spend with Gary Snyder, poet laureate of all that is good coming my way herein Japan where he roamed from just across the Taiheyo in the Sierras.

this flight is landing before it takes off… note to self: further research

Aqaba to Amman via Concorde, first day cover envelope with all sorts of flair!

Continue reading Items: Concorde in Jordan, Everest Aerogramme, stamps from Katin, and poetry from Sierras

Schemes and Dreams for Year of the Tiger – Reiwa 4 / 2022

oh hai, just us talking about stuff like scrapbooks and schemes

+ Schemes and Dreams for Year of the Tiger – Reiwa 4 / 2022 + 

No surprise whatsoever, Dave, surrounded by scrapbooks, well-designed books, unfolded laundry, impressive selection of washi tape and a vessel of homemade miso – and feeling a little tired – looks ahead to 2022 with schemes and dreams including: 

  • compiling/creating a book called “a circumnavigation, of sorts” with freeverse poetry, snippets of diaries, scraps of letters, forgotten lists and possible scribbles; 
  • (the usual of) taking care of health and being a great husband and papa; 
  • making more scrapbooks and collages; 
  • maybe even some paintings of post boxes, payphones and portals. 

Plus tidying up digital odds and ends, stepping up some skills and figuring out how to space out and rest and relax (per Doctors’ orders).

Ichiro makes an appearance as Dave also sends a special *hello* to those who are dealing with some health challenges including uncle in Michigan, a young postcard maker in Sri Lanka, and Larry sensei, and possibly you. 

Finally, after reviewing a litany of scrapbooks of plans, poems, correspondence and other oddities from years past, offers encouragement to share your intentions for the year ahead and reflections on years past in whatever medium you fancy. 

[UPDATE] Feb 1, 2022 (due to sickness and reevaluation): basically canceled 90% of what I ambitiously planned. Recalibrating to “improve the campsite”, ergo: spruce up yard and garden a little bit, finish Kerouac video, make some washi paper, get better at writing Japanese, and maybe repair some broken ceramics with gold.

Note: Oh yeah, calendars and sweater thanks to Shawn P.

just staying alive, yup

Paintings & photos, framed (at last)

Did some framing, some legacy pieces from childhood, some by my Mom & my friend Marty‘s silk screen/block print creations, original Nick Bantock and signed/numbered prints – And 13 of my Gravelly Beach series painted in 2005.

Do you notice how the Gravelly Beach ones are “floated” in the frame? These pieces are painted (in various media) on canvas sheets and then mounted on wooden cradles then on matte board in a deep frame under acrylic/glass.

Going to take a little while to process as well as hang it all but so happy to check this off the list. Long time coming. (In a way i think) I found it hard to make new paintings when all these other paintings are just sitting in folios and boxes / Gotta respect the work.

Here are a couple more (the one on the left and the right, not the center) from my Gravelly Beach series. {These are on stretched canvases and rather large so didn’t put them under glass/acrylic}

Definitely don’t have the wall space for all of it at once, “there’s also a lot of other art already in the collection – but some will hang in the barn and I’m looking for a cafe/gallery that I can do a rotating exhibit at. Importantly though, they are now protected as a lot of those were moved around and getting smashed and deteriorated.

Diary: Of Brautigan, Hats, and Hot Springs

Mondays at Tsuchida cottage are rather hectic by my standards… Grocery delivery comes from the co-op, new order form completed, take garbage down to the community collection center, plus the normal routine of taking out the compost, folding laundry, washing dishes, making rice and miso ~ plus trying to stay up on correspondence.

Just feeling a little bit behind because there’s so many things that I wanted to tell you about – really wonderful things, despite the challenges of my illness – including various treasures arriving via post, i.e.:

* The legendary beat culture literary legend “the Joanne Andersen letter“ Neal Cassidy wrote to Jack Kerouac

* A biography about Richard Brautigan that is bigger than a midsize city’s phonebook (quite literally starts with a bang)

* Another poet’s poetic homage to Richard Brautigan, the Tokyo Van Nuys Expressway. Really enjoyable poetry and also great book production quality worth emulating.

* A magnificent hat > handmade in Springville, Utah with the hat band in scribed by a phrase from “in watermelon sugar”, plus another rare book & various ID cards, posters, stickers, letters, momentos and other treasures. This new hat means I’ve now stopped collecting hats, I’ve reached the pinnacle. Thanks Willis and Marty so very much.

* A hand written card by the all-time postcard champion Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine series and many other works of epistolary literature, ephemera and fine art. His words were so unbelievably appreciated “You’ve traveled so far to find home, well done“ ~ as his *story* inadvertently intertwined with mine, in a way that his fictional characters deal with one another.

* An ink stamp assortment for postcards including a sort of stamping “jig” and variety pack of delicious papers from Lydia Fiedler / Already used extensively (I would foreshadow about our upcoming festive cards but don’t want to put any more pressure to “get stuff done“, but hint: #TimeTraveler)

* Won an auction for some various treasures from, and also a way to support, the Beat Museum in San Francisco… One stash is going to my brother the commander on Diego Garcia, another to friends in Pacifica for safekeeping until I can be connected to the rare Bukowski & Ginsberg riffs

* A handmade card from a great correspondent in California Jeremiah Jacobs who, besides inky stamps and typewritten words, included specific fragrance in his card. #NextLevel (he’s got a new single out)

* well-chosen books, in English, for Ichiro / we are reading to him in English and Japanese on the regular already, including some of my childhood favorites and others that were gifted to me decades ago in an act of foreshadowing I suppose

* A stash of super cute Canadian style (meaning warm and rugged) baby clothes… All that stuff that you hear about babies growing out of their clothes super quick is well, super true. This goes along with Japan *really actually* having “4 seasons“ and the temperature seems to change right on cue

* Finally, the long-awaited literary collection by my dear sensei Larry Harper / “70” sparked from a riff during a time of recovery for him and distress for me, where we both did our best thinking in Hot Springs and made plans for the future. He’s got three out of three checked and I dug an entirely new foundation and build a completely different life. It all starts with Hot Springs my friends, Hot Springs.

OK, back to the domestic tasks, very grateful to hear whenever cards and letters arrive in your post boxes.

Oh wait… Did I even mention the great exhibit, well by my estimation anyway, of four of my post box paintings at the goat farm? Pleasant conversations, poetry, paintings and post and pals. All of it, all of it. Especially grateful for Mac Kobayashi’s kind words (mostly :-)) and father/mother-in-law‘s assistance.

Right now, Ryoko is at Mae Maes band rehearsal (safe &
all of that) with the increasingly (if that’s even possible) adorable Ichiro Stanley, there’s another stack of letters and dossiers and postcards to go to the post office tomorrow, I’m going to finish these dishes, make the rice, make the miso, make the pickles & vinegar and be grateful for all of it.

Fondly, dvo

PS  Connected with the photographer Steve Rapport who took the “Joe Strummer running a marathon” in London photos you might have seen floating around and he also has David Bowie in 1983… Want to buy prints.

Also, the umeboshi started in June or opened and sampled and very worthy of acclaim

Note: Above is Ichiro with Larry’s book / it’s so cool it doesn’t even have an ISBN #Renegade

PS 12.10 Several of these topics (the books and hats) are riffed in a recent Japan Cottage Musings video dispatch, dig in

Artifacts: Signed treasures + international flair (in the Kura)

As i sortganize the kura (barn)/studio, so many treasures… i will document as years go in more elegant manner but sometimes i manage a snap of something extra special. Ergo:

Couple Nick Bantock (Griffin & Sabine etc etc) originals. #needframes

More special signed items coming out including: Mark Arm (Mudhoney), Tegan & Sara… (Frank Black is back there too)

… + Billy Bragg, Joe Shithead & Randy Rampage (DOA), The Matinée, many many more.

bits of international flair from Jordan, Montego Bay, Jamaica, California and Japan (more to come…)