My wife brought home a card the other day. It was for us to send to some friends who live overseas.
It was a postcard made of wood.
That it was made of wood made it more daunting, somehow. What we wanted to say was important to us, of course, but then it would have been even if the card had been made of paper.
Somehow, committing words to a material significantly thicker than paper got me thinking for significantly longer.
I drafted some words in a notebook.
Then I drafted some more.
With each version the sentiments expanded, as tends to happen. As they did the capacity of a piece of wood seemed to shrink even further in comparison. Through re-writes the words eventually compacted until they existed at a scale the canvas could accommodate. I had my final draft.
But still the permanence of the wood caused me to pause. I wrote first in pencil.
Then I wrote over the pencil line in thick pen, the one I use for sketching and note-taking at work. It usually captures thoughts as they emerge, recording them for later when they can (hopefully) coalesce into something more tangible. This time the pen worked in the opposite way, formalising something I’d wrestled with already.
Here’s the final version.
My handwriting is still terrible, which is a source of some regret. But I found it interesting how much more considered I was about the content when faced with a different kind of material to capture it. I was far less automatic, far more concerned with posterity. Not for myself but for the message.
No bad thing, I think.