19 March 2024

Mail from beyond the grave


I just watched a new CNN report about the crash of TWA flight 800 back on the 17th of July 1997.  For so many of us who often flew this route from New York to Paris it hit home as these events always will. They become personalised.

I was back in Aix when it happened and like everyone else I was saddened. But the next year I was again back in Aix that summer and I received a large beaten-up looking envelope from the post office in Queens New York. I opened it not without curiosity and found this letter inside a small plastic bag. Accompanying it was a letter from the Queens Post office explaining that my letter had just been released by the FBI after their investigation into the TWA flight had been terminated and they were therefore allowed to deliver it to me. Shocked as I was happy to receive it under such macabre circumstances, I opened and read it.

It was from a friend with whom I shared a regular correspondence, John Spinks, an artist living in NY. There are several things about this that I need to note about this strange occurrence.

John, by habit, always wrote with a ball-point pen so thus the ink was pretty indelible, as seen in the photo above. On the other hand, had it been a letter from me to him it would not have survived because I have always written by habit, with a fountain pen, using blue/black ink that was almost never indelible. So it would not have survived the Atlantic Ocean. 

When I wrote back to John with a photo of his envelope he was naturally flabbergasted and because he worked principally with collage I believe he turned it into an art work almost immediately.

I am sure that many others received their mail like me after such a long time. Like every tragedy we seem to all be witnesses by varying degrees. 

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 7 March 2024, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm 

In this spirit I offer up this study that was made about two weeks ago. The sea is deep, deep Blue Violet and Emerald Green that despite the bright summer yellow joy, it seems to possess a somber feeling. 

As a child, I remember swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in July and August at the height of the hot summers but this ocean always felt cold and black, like it could never warm up, unlike the Pacific. The Atlantic Ocean felt to me as a kid  like an old witch who could sink a sub for no reason at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment