Milestones and old maps

My thesis—a collection of narrative non-fiction essays—is done. I think I’m still in disbelief, even after a few hours of battling Word to get it to number the damned pages correctly.


The thesis: Half-Life: Essays

Writing these essays has consumed so much of my time this year—since October, when I decided to switch gears and go with non-fiction instead of fiction. I’m not sure what I’ll do now. Will I remember how I used to spend quiet Corvallis evenings, pre-thesis? Will I know what to do on sunny Sundays when I don’t have to be cooped up inside? I’m sure I’ll find plenty of Sisyphean tasks to occupy me; and once again, I’ll return to my pattern of starting things and not finishing them. So I suppose this is a milestone; not just a story finished, but a whole collection. And though there’s a sense of achievement that accompanies this stack of papers, ready to be photocopied tomorrow and handed out to my defense committee, I almost wish it could stretch on a bit longer. I found myself, today, reading all 80-some pages for what felt like the millionth time, searching for stray commas and rogue apostrophes, even though I knew there couldn’t be any typos left. I think I was just trying to prolong the experience, to prolong what this thesis has provided me: the impetus to write daily.

But this also means that I’ll have room opened up for other projects, like my newfound need to sell my letterpress art at the local flea market. I did log some time making things this weekend, namely, hand-cut, -folded, and -glued envelopes made from vintage National Geographic maps. I bought these a few years ago, at a used bookstore in Chicago, for something like 10 cents each. Now seemed like a good time to make them into these envelopes:

Map envelopes—40 in all, packaged in fives



Denmark, circa 1964

I’m not sure about pricing yet, but really, that’s negligible. There’s not much that’s more relaxing to me than a few hours spent cutting, gluing, and listening to the online archives of NPR’s This American Life. So in that regard, even if I sell nothing, I’ll be happier for having made these.


3 thoughts on “Milestones and old maps

  1. Hi,

    I wanted to stop by and say thanks for reading my words … and that I absolutely love your letterpress work and envelopes. Have you ever thought about selling on Etsy?

    Also — I too struggle with the concept of an audience — and I worry far too much about the effect of words and the opinions of others. I guess it’s part of the territory …

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