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the listener
by francois

Posts. Charles William Post (1854-1914) - created Grape-Nuts, wrote and edited company advertising, and committed suicide shortly after having his appendix removed. Emily Price Post (1872-1960) – wrote a book, Etiquette, a syndicated news column, and espoused good taste. Wiley Hardeman Post (1898-1935) – made the first solo flight around the world and died in the same plane crash that took the life of celebrated humorist Will Rogers . Yes, writers and riders. On this night I should’ve arrived posthaste, because of the large crowd, but I didn’t, though I still sat. At the usual post, near the defunct bar in the back, there was post mail and literature.

  • Scott Barsotti: correspondence with the CTA regarding noise. An eventual demand for the total cessation of public transportation. Each letter falls to the floor. The dog receives earmuffs, the dog runs away, and we discover that earmuffs are useless without ears to muff .
  • Liz Cross: letters influenced by archaic/varying forms of words in the English language (influenced by French, Latin, Greek, etc.), and the pronunciation of these words, with a contribution from Alex Jovanovich. Described as “erudite.” Alex exits this performance around a third of the way through, without returning (ah, words live a transient existence too, coming and going).
  • Krista Franklin: brief compositions on postcards with a slightly acrimonious bent.
  • Della Watson and Eric Blank: tin cans, indicating distance, with muffled noises recorded in a car trunk and on a train. Comprehension is difficult, whether with tin cans or digital phone service, if the communication itself is compromised.
  • Nicollette Bond: a stirring letter from grandfather to granddaughter, or a circuitous “truth” campaign against smoking? Pro smoking? I mean, the grandfather’s still around at a ripe age despite the nicotine addiction. And, a letter from a disenchanted friend in Paris (là, au début, on m’a dit que c’est difficile pour les étudiants américains).
  • Allison Gruber: a medley of electronic exchanges (voice mails, text messages, etc.) with a comical angle.
  • Carina Farrero: one of the few letters that she has actually saved, from a friend who was moving, and it’s a good thing she did .
  • Dave Snyder: a letter to his nine grade English teacher in Seattle, who’s now at Harvard. He apologizes for his deviant behavior. Pine trees were an omnipresent corporate logo found in his school. Pine resin is flammable to the point of being explosive, but many species of pines need fire (a trauma) to regenerate (and subsequently mature). I hope this was the metaphor being used.
  • Erin Teegarden: an original poem about being with…someone. These are little nuances, quirks, idiosyncrasies embodied by an entirely spurious figure.
  • John Weagly: what happens to the sunrise? What happens to the dusk?

Krista Franklin, Elizabeth Graettinger, Alex Jovanovich, Erin Teegarden, and Della Watson all provided the visual mail art nestled in spots around the room. New attendee Dawn won the raffle – a book on ballroom dancing and two books by John Weagly. Surprisingly enough, the 90s alternative rock band Letters to Cleo weren’t included on the soundtrack.

Major Sullivan Ballou's emotional letter to his wife Sarah seven days before being killed at the first battle of Bull Run was not read by Richard Curtis.