When working with anything sent as a message there is a question of not only the sender but also the receiver. With my recent works I was experimenting with a closed loop, a sending from self to self, much like resending emails to myself between personal and work emails as reminders. A closed loop acts like a return to sender, the message returns to the one who sent it.
As a teenage mum returning to school there was a specific elderly gentleman who went above and beyond the call of duty as a teacher with support and encouragement. One of those key pivotal people who change who you are and what you are capable of. After moving to Auckland, occasionally I would write to him, after a while my letters started to be returned to me unopened, ‘not at this address ‘.
I realised that for some time, perhaps all along, I had been sending my letters to the lyric of a crowded house song, “at 57 Mt Pleasant Street”. I searched out his true address in past notebooks and corrected the address to the right number on Mt Pleasant road only to have my missive returned again ‘not at this address’.
I found out some time later that he had died in a gardening accident and his widow had moved on and away.
The second time something similar happened between my message and its intended recipient was when the calls and texts from a friend fell silent. Figuring he had lost his phone again (a common occurrence) I started dropping notes and letters with instructions to call me into his letterbox whenever I went past his house. Occasionally I would knock on his door but he never answered (also a common occurrence as he worked strange hours), I left a birthday card, and an angry note saying he had missed my birthday (again). Six months later I found out he had died suddenly and his flatmate had moved in with a girlfriend. My last note to him was my business card on which I had drawn holly and Christmas bells. It was in my wallet ready to put into his letterbox, I found out about his death before I posted it. It is still in my wallet.
I still wonder what the new tenants thought of my missives.