Yesterday I was unpacking from my summer travels (the textiles, the canvas bags from British butchers, the shards of banana chips still in my socks) and growing accustomed to Philadelphia's inferno, when I got a call from Anthony over at Martha Stewart inviting me to attend a blogger event this evening at the MSO headquarters in NYC to coincide with this gigantic conference . It is always an honor and small miracle to collaborate with the terrific team over there. They are both detail oriented and incredibly fun, a rare combination. You can just tell that they have amazing parties.
Anthony envisioned a bit of on the spot calligraphy for the hundreds of attendees. At around midnight last night --that would be after I obtained second degree burns on the three most important fingers on my left hand from the broiler earlier in the evening-- I started thinking about what question I could ask each attendee that would elicit a good story. "What is a day you will never forget, that you remember always?" seemed like a good one. So with the magic of a manual feed tray I got to work on the cards. On the front: some info about Neither Snow and a vintage stamp (do I love the person who chose "Family Planning"? Yes I do.). On the back, a quote from Jorge Luis Borges' poem in "Dreamtigers." Here's part of the passage. The verse above just about sums everything up, doesn't it?
Here's the mock up:I set up my little table, barely avoiding a catastrophe with a jar of sumi ink, as Martha Stewart walked by. I wish I had the opportunity to ask her what date she remembers always. It seems there are many to choose from. And then the sweet, enthusiastic, grateful, friendly parade of bloggers stopped by, quizzically picking up the cards as I rambled my pitch. To my astonishment, everyone has a date etched in their memory. Even people like me, who are terrible with dates, remembered at least one. I calligraphed wedding anniversaries, children's birthdays, engagements, the day a father passed away, first dates (like a Beastie Boys concert in 1993. Awesome.), the day of graduation from business school, the day a son graduated from college, the day an entrepreneurial woman started her blog. It was a treat to get to know a little bit about all of these stupendously talented folks who previously existed as web addressees. Here's a terrible photo of the scene: Then a rare moment of synergy. The synergy that I dream about, that I think Borges would approve of. Gayle approached and asked for her birthday: September 3, 1961. And then Annie, waiting patiently in line next to Gayle, gasped and said "that's my birthday, too!". Indeed it was. Even the same year. And here they are with their cards.
As I was getting in the elevator one of the catering staff bounded in, eager to catch a taxi uptown. "My sister is in labor right now. I'm headed to the hospital. I'm going to be an uncle!" It was all I could do not to hold him back so I could dash off "August 5, 2010." For the both of us, it is a day we won't soon forget.
this should be in a bigger font, right?: GIVEAWAY! read on...
Because I am always after a good story I am going to try a little giveaway with my handful of loyal readers. What is a date you won't soon forget and why? Please tell me in a comment blow. The best story gets a scan of his or her name in calligraphy to use for stationery, a rubber stamp, etc. And to new friends from tonight -- it was a pleasure to meet you! I'd love to hear more about your special days. And to all at MSO -- thank you for including me!
And so I say goodnight, with blistered fingers and a happy heart, from a world vivid and complex.