Not to be confused with The Swell Season, which is totally different. (Or I don’t know: maybe not.)
Anyway: ”The Separate Season” is what my friend Stuart has dubbed my endeavor to decamp and literally head for the hills of southwestern Virginia for six straight weeks of face-time with the Creative Spirit.
Spartan living quarters. No TV. A mile-long walk — (In the snow. [Snow? In June? Forget it. He's on a roll.] Fending off various forms of hungry predatory wild life. Etc.) — to access the internet. Just me (and my dog) and a lot of (written) words, my own and those of others. All against the backdrop of an effortlessly/extemporaneously gorgeous setting.
Seeing as I’ve got a vast Social Media Presence, however, I fretted over the six or seven people in the (virtual) world who would miss me. Or something. Good thing is, once I start fretting, I’m wont to hatch a scheme. (Wait: that’s good? Hmm…)
An Invitation to Commune with the Collective Creative Spirit, Brought to You by (and Yet Also Somehow in Direct Defiance of) Commander Mark Zuckerberg
This is what I put on my personal Facebook page last night:
Okay. So. I’m gonna be sporadic on Ye Olde Facebooke Machine for the next six weeks or so. I’m heading for the hills. To nourish the Creative Spirit. Therefore: please send all status updates to me via postcard. c/o 110 Northview Drive, Apt. #37. Blacksburg, VA. 24060. (Not even kidding.)
It was sort of halfway a whim. But then I realized my Separate Season wouldn’t be complete without it. And so then I followed that up with this:
No but seriously. This will make me happy.
Please send things: “And it seemed strange: how we used to wait for letters to arrive, but what’s stranger still: is how something so small could keep you alive…” – The Arcade Fires
[No but see: you think I'm kidding, but I'm not. I'm very not kidding. And see: I know I have some very weird and ingenious/artsy Facebook friends. So I will be very perplexed if my summer is not (in part) spent fielding exceedingly cool shit in my little adopted mailbox.]
But wait! That’s not all! If I get at least 20 postcards, I’ll commission a limited edition poster (designed by an actual, talented visual arts type person) featuring all the submitted postcards, and all submittors will receive three copies of said poster! (Again: I’m not kidding.)
Limited edition poster = 100 copies.
Somebody commented that I’m the only person in the world who would do something like this. I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I kind of wish it was true, but I don’t think it is.
Truth is, I like postcards. I really like handwriting. Plus this six weeks is about privileging real words on real paper, the simple, direct, tangible communion involved in that process. Also it’s about the relationship between process and projects, committing to both in proper balance, and how sometimes striking that balance requires that you check out of what has become of the workaday world. Not forever. Just for a little while.
This seems like a fitting way to commemorate all of that. And if we get a cool poster out of the deal, all the better, right?
So yes: you are invited. Send me your status (so-called). On a postcard. This month. I mean, when’s the last time you put something in the mail? When’s the last time you put something in the mail and, in so doing, you knew you were taking part in a collective creative act?
Well. Now’s your chance.