Welcome to 2010 and to the new decade!
When I began this particular writing project in my mid-teens, it consisted of snail-mail postcards sent from every city I visited for nearly an entire school year; the class of third graders in upstate New York that received the postcards would then learn about every city I sent one from, as part of their social studies curriculum. At the end of the year, their teacher – a family friend – compiled all of those postcards into a booklet, giving a copy to each student as a souvenir. When I got my copy, I was surprised at how much content was crammed into those short messages. Reading through them, I was reminded of many things that I had forgotten. It was fun to revisit those trips.
When the third graders became fourth graders and their teacher retired, I wanted to continue writing postcards, but in some way that would reach more than a single classroom. My idea was to post them on my website for several elementary school classes to read, so I “sent” digital postcards: I posted a single picture from each city I visited, accompanied by a short text. I was happy for kids across the United States to see what it was like – in little glimpses – to be a traveling musician, and also what it was like for someone not so much older than they were to be out and about in the world. In each postcard, I would try to add details that caught my eye, because I was pretty sure those were the things that they themselves would notice, had they been traveling alongside me. I called that part of my site, “Postcards from the Road.”
After a couple of months of posting these digital postcards, grown-ups started coming up to me after concerts and telling me that they too were following the postcards. I was bowled over! Now that we’re well into the 21st century, that reaction may seem naïve, but the Internet was still a new thing to me at that time and the word “blog” didn’t even exist. I had not realized how accessible a single artist’s website could be.
From then on, I wrote for everyone. Over time, I added more pictures per post and the texts grew longer, until eventually the entries could hardly be called postcards. They were more like letters. Or a travelogue. Or a journal, with photos. So I renamed this section of my site, “Journal.”
I would now like to return this feature to its roots, to the postcard format. I hope to post more often, and keeping the content short and sweet will make that possible. Don’t get me wrong: I love writing long-format journal entries – and will probably revert to that from time to time – but I have missed the postcard aspect that these writings had, say, a decade ago.
I think you will enjoy this new take on the old form. Bon voyage, one and all!
From the road,