Thursday, January 1, 2015

The House on Rock Harbor Road -- December 25, 1961 -- Lower Cape Sketchbook

I love this entry. Though dated the 25th of December, it doesn't hint at Christmas but instead gives an idea of what my father was trying to accomplish with writing this journal. You can see how his writing and his art are fusing to evoke what the Cape, and the environment in particular, means to him. So that readers can "feel the feel of it."

Knowing it's Christmas when my father wrote it, I wonder when he had the time. Did he get up early while the rest of the house still dozed with sugar plum visions in their heads? Or was it later in the day? Perhaps in the afternoon when my sisters were busy playing with their new toys. Or later still, after everyone was tuckered out from the festivities and tucked in bed. There he is, with his lined paper atop a book propped on his lap (or, more likely, smoothed out on the kitchen table) and he writes out longhand, writing about writing.

Oh, and that's another Christmas pic of my Dad, this one from 1974 when we lived in Eastham.


Lower Cape Sketchbook

Perhaps I have already begun this book with the infrequent entries in a diary started last summer. But what sort of book could I write concerning our life on the Cape? Not a diary simply, for too many books take that form. A chronicle of nature that follows the cycle of the seasons. In some respects it might follow this form.

Rather I will write a sketchbook of what I see around me from the elbow of the Cape north to Provincetown – Cape Tip – or wherever my travels on the Cape take me. For every few days finds me in a different spot, nosing around; the beaches, the bay, and marsh shores along the tideline rubble, looking for flotsam to add to my beach collages.

In my collecting trips I look for almost anything that carries the marks of time. Anything characteristic of the environment of sea, bay, shoreline; whether wood, metal, shell, or bone. If they are small enough to carry I take them and dry them out and let them set for a time to make (them, us?) aware of their bounty.

So I will record in my sketchbook that which I cannot carry but which is part of the environment – wood, metal, shell, or bone. Indeed it may be part of the scene, the effect of where I am. It will be a collage in words, a searching for the same effect that time-worn objects have—words on paper for wood on wood. Cork on wood. I want the reader to be able to rub his hand over a weathered washed up plank and feel the grit of it, the smell of it. To feel the feel of it.


Robin said...

I love this entry -- Dad's search for beach bounty related to finding the words to describe things. "To feel the feel of it." Thanks for sharing and happy New Year!

Cynthia Sherrick said...

I love this photo of Dad with a bow on his head. He loved doing that at Christmas. :)