Over on our Instagram page, we’re posting a weekly installation from Clare Johnson’s Post-it Note Project, a long running daily project. Here’s her wrap-up and statement from December’s posts.
With my mom starting chemo again, I felt I should be publishing post-its from three years ago when she first had cancer. Or else something cozy, something seasonal—or even seasonal in the sense of the annual healthcare enrollment process, the post-its I’ve made out of anxiety and anger about the insurance system here. But really all I want to do is be back in an earlier version of this year, before this was coming. I want the openness of other days. In August I was at my first ever writing residency, occupying a giant classroom in a old school building. I want to be back there, awash in that good fortune, plopped down suddenly into a tiny logging town that other people only visit for the fishing—living like I could see my own grandfather’s inscrutable past in my surroundings, or else just escape happily into my work. I seemed to be the only adult swimming, rather than fishing, in Mineral Lake, my daily swim making me some kind of pitiable anomaly. One person thought I might be drowning and need assistance; another was shocked to find I was not a buoy. The local kids treated me like a celebrity, hysterically delighted to find someone else in the lake—apparently they all want to be writers, or artists, and can they please borrow my clownfish swimming cap. I’d go back every year if I could, just turn all life’s problems into art and a swim. I wonder how those explosively friendly kids will grow up. And so many pencils, lovely subtly-branded pencils just sitting there in the hall like they were waiting for me. I broke my own rule, made two post-its every night instead of one to try to double my time, make those days stretch further.