Week Two

If you’ve been following me on this blog, you know that I’ve been working on a new writing project with my artist wife and we’ve been chronicling it here. We’re going to put together a multimedia book, her art and my poems to write about the experience of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

In our first vision, Ann was going to do wood cuts with art my poetry. When we thought of the scope of the project, however, we realized that we wanted about 200 illustrated sonnets. Even if they aren’t all going to be illustrated, to keep a consistency of style, all of them would need to be cut out.

So for the sake of Ann’s hands, we’re moving away from the wood cut idea and toward silk screening. Wood cuts are difficult physically. There is something beautiful about them, but many of the same effect that we get with the wood cuts we can get with the screen prints too.

Last week, I was debating what I should write about. I knew I wanted a sonnet sequence about the national parks, but I think what I want to write about is the trip that Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir took through the parks by themselves. There’s something epic about what was happening there. There aren’t a lot of great epics about the founding of the United States. This is of course not the moment of birth of the republic, but I think it goes a long way to explain who we are as modern Americans.

After all the founding of the national parks is one of the early major acts that made a cohesive country as opposed to 50 states. That and the building of the highway system and a few other large public works programs made us America with a capital “A.” I know that I always identify as an American before I identify as a Californian, and the parks were a part of that national identity.

Enough of the flag waving. The only other project now is to figure out whose point of view to tell it from, and that’s going to take research. Research is fun though. More on that next week.