the signal house
Tawny Frogmouth 2020
pastel and pencil on paper
contributing artists - Kale Chesney, Paul Hallahan, Margaux Pierrel, Enzo Tomasello
Forty-five minutes north-east of Cambridge is a landscape I’ve come to love very much indeed…
In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together…
It was a rather nice morning…
Let me begin again…
Her skin is like dusk on the eastern horizon…
The Gregorian calendar, and those who employ it, use January as a time to look back on the year that was, and forward to the year that might be. The gesture is symbolic, though arbitrary. January is no better or worse a month for beginnings than any other time of the year.
There are an infinite number of beginnings to establish in life, almost as many as there are opening sentences in books; consider our above collage from 1923 to 2019 as an inspiration.
One's power and choice to begin anew is something one always has. We are a species that consciously and obsessively thinks of beginnings and endings, and, to help prove the point, our idioms—at least in English—capture this narrative bent: we talk of turning over a new leaf or closing a chapter in our life. We also talk of someone being a closed book, dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s, and not judging a book (that is, our colleague or blind date) by its cover. Our vernacular is so peppered with these expressions that one might suggest we are, in fact, the authors and narrators of our own stories.
In all, this sounds a grander and more powerful role than our now equally common, indentured position as tweeters, posters, senders, submitters, and consumers. When you put the two words side by side—author and tweeter—the demotion is clear. It is much better to be the author of our destiny than its tweeter.
We are also the community that comes together to listen, read, talk and reflect on stories, be they fact or fiction. At The Edition, we are fortunate to be the publishers of this work and in this issue we are thrilled to present nine new contributors.
Whatever 2021 holds for you, we hope that your new beginnings continue beyond January, well into the new year. We look forward to welcoming you here as contributors, readers, and supporters, sharing some of the 2021 story together.
- The Editors.
The first sentences of books, cited in order, H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald (2014), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940), Mr. Clumsy by Roger Hargreaves (1978), On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2019), and Cane by Jean Toomer (1923).
DAN SPIELMAN, our first featured artist of 2021, is a performer, woodworker and artist, currently living and working on Wurundjeri country in Melbourne, Australia. Over the past 25 years, his diverse practices have always informed one another and created space for each other. Dan's bird drawings were made over an 8 week period during lockdown in Melbourne. Website. Instagram.
"Birds have always been my companions. They are written into the story of my life. As subject matter, they were an instinctual choice. The process of drawing them has revealed to me a new direction, a new practice – and has been joyfully instructive about the interplay between observation and discovery."
You can view Dan's performance credits, wood joinery work, and pastel drawings at Dan Spielman Studio.