As promised, here are some of the answers to the questions that I posted last week. I want to give a shout out to Hannah Hinchman, an artist whose work I’ve loved for over 25 years, and who continues to inspire me–I often hear her voice in my head when I’m designing a page or trying to decide what to include.
1.How do you choose what to record? I record what feels like the highlights of the day–the defining moments. I never made this as a public document, yet there has always been a morsel of self-censorship within it–it’s like I knew it might be viewed one day. We all have many faces–the faces we show our teachers, our parents, our friends are all different, right? This current, larger format allows me to record more. I’m getting more personal in my reflection.
2. What do the little checkerboards mean? They are everywhere. Are they a code? Nope. I swear=-they are really just a design element that I like to make.
3. Some symbols we get–like the yoga one, but do you have other hidden meanings within the calendar? Definitely. I have a number of codes. In the earlier years I used an Adinkra symbol, that evolved to other shapes or words that are repeated–things that only I know.
4. My question to them: What does the calendar tell you about me? One student could totally relate to me through the calendar, that what I do is like what her mom and dad do. Another young woman totally could not relate to me. Which prompted the next question.
Do you have any bad habits? Meaning do you ever sneak off to smoke a cigarette, get drunk or do anything “bad”? When one of the Exeter students asked this question–it struck me that I live a pretty clean life. I tried to “prove” to the students that I wasn’t so straight-laced– But it also got me thinking even more about how the calendars tell my story. I can go through them and find those nights that were rockous drunken adventures, but I really don’t drink that much, I don’t smoke, and I’ve never been interested in drugs.
And I keep thinking about that question. I have many tangents on which it takes me–but I don’t think I’m going to share them. But it keeps me asking this question–do the calendars really reflect ME? And how do you write, say, do whatever to reflect back to others who you really are? Should you be totally honest all the time, or sometimes is it important to really “act the way you WANT to feel?” (Thank you Gretchen Rubin.)
6. What inspired you to do this? I began to do this as a way to document my experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I never thought I would be sitting here nearly 20 years later continuing to document my daily adventures.
7. Wow, how do you keep doing this? I don’t know. As you experienced this past week if you’ve been reading this blog, I get into moments where I don’t record–and then I have to catch-up. Usually my own guilt of breaking the commitment to myself and the knowledge of how challenging it is to recreate memory for more than a day or two fuels me to keep going. I also keep doing it because it has told me some significant things about myself over the years.
8. What does the calendar tell me about me? It helped me figure out why I was having headaches four years ago and to get rid of them. It tells me that I work too much sometimes, and that I don’t play enough. That I like to exercise. It helps me remember specific events and mundane daily-ness. It jogs my memory, allowing me to relive certain times of my life in some ways. But ultimately it tells me that I live a fairly basic, pedestrian existence, with some highs and lows.
What does it tell you about me? Please share in the comments, I would love to know!