Wednesday, March 9, 2011

same ingredients, similar brew

Lee Miller, WWII
A week or two ago, my illustrious blog friend, Alan Burnett (today revealing his nickname "Ali") left this comment on my recent post on Charles Simic:

There must be something about 
certain characteristics that pool together: 
born collector, notebook-keeper, blog writer. 
Same ingredients, similar brew and a knowledge 
of what you like, I'll probably like. 
Off to look up Simic 
(just written his name down in my note-book).

That day, unbeknownst to me, Alan posted an article on his blog titled "Swaying His Legs Like a Pair of Woolen-Coated Pendulums", about writing a novel in a series, on the back of postcards mailed to a friend (I loved the woolliness of the title, as well as the postcards) and the very same day, I posted my poem "Exposition of Sleep" which also included "pendulum", not exactly an everyday sort of word.

After this series of small synchronicities, Alan proposed an experiment.  We each would choose a postcard which would represent a current thought or interest, add a message identifying the thought, and mail them to each other on the same day, Saturday, February 26, 2011.

I quickly pulled out three postcards from my collection.  One, a girl in WWII military uniform with a tie, a street scene with a vintage bookseller in Paris, and a 1960s era TWA postcard, depicting an American girl with a red bicycle, in Paris.  It was a hard decision, but I finally chose the last.

postcard sent by Alan Burnett
Here is the card Alan sent me.  Upon first glance, I immediately noticed Lee Miller in military uniform with a tie, very similar to one of my unmailed choices. He mentions going to Oxford and buying a lot of vintage postcards all based on book covers; this corresponds with my other card choice.  But, what I didn't initially see, is the fact that the book, The Lives of Lee Miller by Antony Penrose, is about a successful American fashion model  who moved to Paris in the 1920s and established herself as a photographer, producing some of the most powerful images of the century.

So what is the result of our little experiment?  Even though the two postcards are very different, (hop over to Alan's blog and take a look at mine) there is still a wealth of similarities lurking under the surface.

In the body of the written correspondence, we both mention personal adventures and vintage ephemera. He mentions traveling to Oxford; I mention New York.  He talks about the art form drama; I mention poetry. His card shows a talented female artist Lee Miller; I mention Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Among all the similarities, it all boils down to this:  both our cards picture American girls who went to Paris, a fascinating mutual theme. These synchonicites are not surprising in two people with similar interests, characteristics that pool together like doppelgangers. It's amazing how kindred spirits can connect so easily in this digital age of blogging. But, when I told WT the results of our little test, he laughed.  "Does Alan know you're psychic?"
P.S.--Okay, this is spooky.
(click to embiggen)

44 comments:

  1. Lovely post my friend - and a most enjoyable experiment.

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  2. I realized why there is no address. Duh. I do like the experiment and never dreamed Alan was so experimental.

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  3. ..."blogcarding". I love it.

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  4. A fun experiment and, if it catches on, who knows if blogging might save the postal service.

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  5. Too Spooky... I just knew it, you two are twins! :)

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  6. What a fun experiment! And the outcome...totally amazing.

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  7. This is very cool! I also think the woman in the postcard resembles your lovely daughter even more. The eyes especially!

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  8. Dear Tess: WoW what a cool experiment! and sychronistic! I'd keep trying this each week...someone or something is calling from the psychic hotline;..maybe Charles Simic and Lee Miller? What are they trying to tell us? Life is very fashionable in Paris? And I love your collective style! So going to check this out!

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  9. Now THAT is a neat thing to do. What a fun experiment. I'd love to do that. When I first saw the image, before I read anything, I assumed it was a relative of yours because of the resemblance.
    PS - finally made the cake, loved it!

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  10. Interesting post, Tess. Alan's comment about "...certain characteristics that pool together..." is in line with Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist (among others) philosophies suggesting that all human experience is linked through a universal consciousness. Jung explored this, and others as well. (Notable would be Capra's "The Tao of Physics" and Gary Zukav's "The Dancing Wu-Li Masters." ( which I never really cared for). There is considerable literature that tries to tie quantum physics with these Eastern philosophies and vice versa. It's all pretty much over my head, though I do understand the philosophy part. (Well, Taoism can get a bit circular)

    What most would call coincidence, could be considered to be a lack of spiritual/intuitive awareness. That's not to be taken as a criticism of anyone. Some souls are plugged in to "other realms", if you will, and some aren't. And if one considers the writings of Jane Roberts with the Seth publications, those who aren't, aren't for their own reasons of spiritual development.

    I think if we all simply pay attention to our daily surroundings and our movements therein, we might enjoy and benefit from these synchronicities that we otherwise ignore.

    Rick

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  11. Wild and wonderful -- all of it!

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  12. Rick, thanks for mentioning the Seth materials. I ordered some Jane Roberts stuff from my library when you mentioned her before, and didn't get them read. Will look into her again!

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  13. I liked this, not just the experiment, but the history here. Thank you

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  14. I liked this, not just the experiment, but the history here. Thank you

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  15. More than interesting--almost mysterious, Tess. That "psychic" comment by WT--since he "knows" you!--carries more weight with me.
    I believe there is lots more of that gift being used than we are aware.

    Bottom line is...you had FUN! Postcards! Hmmmmm.....a nephew living far away used to play chess with me using penny postcards (Now you know how long ago--grin!), one move--then mail it--move, etc.
    Thanks for sharing this happening!

    PEACE!

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  16. Steve, I like to play chess, but, hey, that was one long game. I bet it lasted for months. You'd have to dust the pieces between moves!

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  17. Hi! Willow...
    What an interesting experiment...Thanks,
    for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

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  18. It is amazing what can spark a connection- I am also a fan of Charles Simic but the only book I have read of his is: DIME STORE ALCHEMY The Art of Joseph Cornell. I was first attracted to the book because of my love of Joseph Cornell assemblages- but I discovered the writing to be a gem as well.

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  19. Willow! What is D U S T ????? grin!

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  20. This is totally wonderful! Blogcarding shall surely become a trend now. Great fun you two!

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  21. A wonderful snap of you in the lowest pictures. But who's the girl, on the right, with the dark hair?

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  22. Synchronicity! :-)

    The Paris connection calls to mind the plum pudding incident the French writer Émile Deschamps wrote about in his memoirs (googling will give you various links to the tale).

    I wonder how cognitive science nowadays sees "forward memory" and the relationship between CG Jung's concept of synchronicity and confirmation bias.

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  23. Great stuff! I've just travelled over, 'hot foot' from Alan's blog. What a wonderful experiment, you two have cooked up. I'd like to see this take off across blogland.

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  24. I was impressed by the speedy delivery of both your postcards as much as the synchronicity of your ideas!

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  25. Wouldn't it be great to do a mass version of this? Goodness knows how it could be worked, maybe you send a card to one person, they send one to another, and so on with the last on the list sending one to the first.

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  26. tess - synchonicities give us a peek into the layers beneath our experiencing. most best of all, it gives us a chance to feel a quality of connectedness that is warmer, somehow more real, and especially very magical. steven

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  27. I think this happens all the time, we just don't notice. I love that you are so aware, turned on, tuned in and so wonderfully you!

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  28. Oh, I love Lee Miller's photography. Eric and I went to the Bermuda museum of art once while we were there and they had a wonderful exhibit of her photos. We spent a long time soaking them up that day, and they've stuck with me. Lovely post, Tess! Some bloggers have been sketching postcards and sending them to others throughout the world, which I also think is fabulous. Wonderful post!

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  31. ps
    Sorry, Tess--blogger was acting up and posted me several times here!

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  32. This is delicious, using old fashioned snail mail as the vehicle for your experiment. Yes, I do hope you've started a trend!

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  33. Some people would just call this coincidence - I have had numerous similar experiences over the last year - I really do think it is something more than coincidence - but what I can't say.

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  34. Oh yeah. You know I'm loving this one. Synchronicities ... it's always so exciting to know that we really CAN get on a wavelength. We can and we do. VERY cool.

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  35. I've just wandered over from Alan's to check out the result of your experiment (which I think is a brilliant idea by the way). Rather a lot of similarities methinks!

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  37. Thought I was going to have a recipe post when I read the title but was pleasantly surprised to see something different on the plate.

    Very enjoyable but I hate you forcing me to look up the meaning of words like enbiggen :)

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  38. Way cool experiment! I found it very interesting..I cam over from Alans:)

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  39. Alan has fabulous handwriting!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)