My brother takes notes on tiny scrapes of paper that he peels off from envelopes, other notes, papers from high school, really anything he can find to write on. He then fills up the paper with lists. Typically these are lists of books he wants to read or music he wants to listen to. At any given time you can ask him to empty his pockets and he will have at least one tiny list on him.
This article on Slate about Emily Dickinson’s small notes of poetry reminded me of my brother’s lists:
“Dickinson’s editor Millicent Todd Bingham described Dickinson’s manuscripts:
‘A jumble of words on odds and ends of paper, some of it crumpled or torn … There are pink scraps, blue and yellow scraps … all … written in pencil and all in the late handwriting … The strokes are sometimes faint and the lines often overlap so that the words overtake one another as if written in the dark.'”
It is interesting to see Dickinson’s process – some of the notes can be found in her finished poems. Sometimes what is crossed out says more than what isn’t. These fragments have been scanned and are accessible to the public.
What is interesting to me, at least on my brother’s list, is the total randomness. He could have a pop fiction book next to Saul Bellow. He could have the Misfits next to Vivaldi. Somethings are crossed off, others aren’t.
This article in Slate reminded me that I need to figure out a way to photograph my brother’s lists. I was inspired by the way the scanning shows the edges of the material. The material is just as important as what is written on them.
I’ve been playing around with taking digital photographs of printed photos. I like what it does to the sides of the frame. Maybe something like that could work for his lists. Do I photograph them together or individually? Multiple lists? They would also look interesting suspended in a frame with a stark white background. Perhaps projecting light through the list and taking a photograph – making it seem somewhat transparent. That could look good especially since he uses both sides the paper some times.
Either way, I’m stuck until the next time I see him or if I can figure out a way to coerce him into taking the initial photographs himself.