Serving the Work

For the past three weeks, I have had a visitor that reminds me, by its very example, of what it means to serve the work. To put aside ego, deadlines, other’s expectations and advice … and to focus on the work at hand. To quiet the “popcorn mind” (thanks to Tom Birdseye for that oh-so-descriptive term) and to offer the work the time and patience needed to bring it into being.
This visitor is a stone-and-handmade-paper display of poems. It was created by a dear poet friend, Anne Dykers, over a period of more than ten years.
Ten years to write the poems (300 pages, finally culled to a few lines on each of about 100 pages). Ten years to learn how to make the paper. Ten years to decide how to share the poems (traditional print book? long strips of paper? stone and paper?). Ten years to learn how to print on handmade paper. Ten years to determine the type and cut of the stone, and more time to find the right craftsman to carve it. Ten years to find the right title, “Je Suis Belle” (I am beautiful), a title that refers to a Rodin sculpture first called “The Rape” and later renamed by the artist.
Ten years.
And now here it is. Calm, weighty, resonant. The work, well served.

~Mary Quattlebaum


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2 responses to “Serving the Work

  1. sounds wonderful, mary. please, could you give us the words of a poem and/or a photo of this book?

  2. My wife in one of her (many) former incarnations made beautiful books. such a joy to give the written work a suitable home. This one sounds and looks marvellous. Thanks.

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