Time Upon Once

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timeuponOnce unreal but not untrue

timeuponOnce unreal but not untrue

Phebe Damaris Hanson Rebecca Jean Alm Kathleen Marie Heideman

We gather an EveryWoman’s Tale from fragments. Through attention, these random fragments grow precious: raw material drawn from our work, visual scraps, memories of stories we heard as children, recollected dreams, disembodied images...

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“In the old times, when it was still of some use to wish for the thing one wanted...” — Brothers Grimm

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“The point of all stories is the getting of wisdom...” — Jane Yolen

grade school rapunzel Let down your long blonde hair. Let it cascade gently to your waist. Can the boy behind you bear, as you let down your long blonde hair, to watch and pretend he doesn’t care by dipping it into his jar of paste? Let down your long blonde hair. Let it cascade gently to your waist. [PDH]

fairy godmother I was scarcely more than ten years old when Harriet lost her luster. She came to town puffing Old Golds. I was scarcely more than ten years old — her gifts were gold from California, from Shreveport, from Turlock, pulled from drawers, from shelves, from flowered dusters. A cigarette wand. I was scarcely ten years old and she was all that she could muster. [RJA]

for your sake burning, love Tied to the stake, the old crone swore: I shall be burnt, for I am quite done! & weary of this fire which partly deadens & partly darkens the eyes & hearts of heartsick girls who stand too near the hearth, like Aschenputtel, or run too late from flame.” She warned “you’ll be burnt too, when he’s quite done with you.”Yet desire was tempting to the crone; she could not shun even the tongue which flickered, licked her logpile, and danced in fits-&-starts... In an earlier era, already I’d have burned alive for what I’ve done in the name of fire — “for your sake burning, love. What is dark to the eye is bright to the heart.” [KMH]

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“Poetry must be made by all, not one.” — Compte de Lautremont

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Three first-born daughters weave fragments of image and text into new garments that may or may not fit the body of any woman, from any land, in any time... [RJA] Why did I insist on setting up such ridiculously stringent rules for myself? — “find 3-word fragments from Grimm’s Fairy Tales to place in middle of each line of triolet, then add words before and after” — an impossible task! But isn’t that what fairy tales are about? Impossible tasks? [PDH] Fairy tales? They led me astray. They made me hopeful. [KMH]

kissing Whom do you have to kiss to find a prince? Maybe a frog will no longer do. Maybe kiss a lizard and then a quick rinse. Whom do you have to kiss to find a prince? Or is this the wrong question to ask, since Frogs and lizards abound but princes are few. Whom do you have to kiss to find a prince? Maybe a frog will no longer do. [PDH]

the blue light The blue light fell from her pocket in the morning when she ran in the rain. Her heart hard against the locket as the blue light fell from her pocket. Seed hairs, grass whips, trail treads reaching the socket of pain. It fell, blue light, fell from her pocket in the morning when she ran in the rain. [RJA]

the woodcutter’s second wife Bottom line: they weren’t mine. Never had any — considering my history with men, I’m careful that way — but then I met that heartwood logger, Hansel, and went all wood inside, couldn’t help it: I fell hard, blind as grubs under bark. I told myself the bed was loaded — a package deal — that awful day he asked, and I assented. At the root, I knew how far he’d go to lose the kids, but the way Hansel looked in workboots and torn jeans made clear thoughts stall, a chainsaw low on gas. They siphoned off his love for me like willow roots, forcing their way through cistern walls, resented. But I admit only complicity. I rode along when Hansel drove his rig as deep as the dark road lasted, then walked his own flesh deeper — the way he told it later, we’d cut more wood than we could carry. Bottom line: we left two logs to rot, small ones. Couldn’t help it. [KMH]

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“It is only when you finish eating and, drowsy and grateful, take off your shoes, that the ax falls ... or the witch locks the door from the outside and throws away the key....” — Lisel Mueller, “The Voice of the Traveler Who Escaped”

the old woman She looked in her mirror and saw herself turned into an old woman with hair of gold: “Of what use to me is this shimmering hair when my body hasn’t learned to accept its wrinkles and let them be?” Then the woman ate yogurt, turned back to a lass. Now once again she was totally free to dance and bicycle and lounge in the grass, go climbing high mountains into the clouds, where at last she was purged of all that was crass, where at last she escaped from the city’s crowds. But soon she fell into grief and fear. “What shall I do?” She sat a long while on the mountain top, head bowed, And then she arose, “Surely I’ll think of something new,” while swirling around, her life’s fragments blew... [PDH]

spinning roses in the garden from birds A strange feeling comes over her in the garden. Nobody knows that when she spins, first one, then a second, then a third bird encircles her until the sweet darkness of green hills reach her toes and a strange feeling comes over her in the garden. Nobody knows. But when we come near at every spin a rose appears and there is nothing left of her for the roses obscure the strange feelings coming over her in the garden which nobody knows as she spins so much that first one, then a second and then a third bird encircles her. [RJA]

ever after Do you still believe in happy endings? asked the boat leaving shore without you, already distant as the last page of a story you were intending to read, still intending to believe.... For happy endings, the heart must drift far out without a compass, uncharted through high seas, bad weather [ : recall here how a boat floating one has better odds than a boat burdened down with two...]. So — you still believe in happy endings? Ask the boat leaving shore without you. [KMH]

timeuponOnce colophon a collaborative book by Phebe Hanson, Rebecca Alm and Kathleen Heideman, Spring 2001 Three eldest daughters — exactly a generation apart: grandmother, mother, daughter — met weekly for over two years. They spun stories, read fairy tales aloud and sketched in their journals. From free-writing, the triolet  surfaced as the most suitable form for gathering text fragments. Journal sketches led them to exploring the exquisite corpse tradition. They began shredding broken fairy tale books with a Royal JS1100 “Jaws” paper shredder, hydrating story fragments in a David Reina Hollander Paper Beater, and adding flax pulp (sown and harvested by Alm, another story). In Alm’s paper studio, they couched sheets of paper in rounds of three, with inclusions of shredded fragments and acidic bits of popular culture images slipped in by Hanson. Heideman objected; Alm concurred; Hanson pouted. These sheets, pressed and dried, were used as a substrate for exquisite corpse drawings. They worked on the corpses in layers using handwriting, gesso, acrylic glazing gels (Iridescent Gold, Interference Green, Quinacridone Gold, etcetera), collaged text fragments, colored pencil, and McCall pattern pieces (Story Book Magic Costumes # 6810; # 5746) to make composite images of fairy tale women. Corpse drawings were scanned on a Umax Astra 2200U scanner and digitized using Adobe Photoshop. Also digitized were journal scans, images from old fairy tale books, and other ephemera. Layout and electronic prepress in Adobe InDesign by Kathleen Heideman with Phebe Hanson and Rebecca Alm sitting closeby, offering counsel. Type faces include Bembo, Bembo Italic, Bembo Semibold Italic, Myriad Roman, and Myriad Bold. The paper is McCoy Velvet Cover. This full color edition consists of 1000 copies. Printer: Cooperative Printing Association, Minneapolis. and bound in a revealed-spine stitch. Special thanks to the Jerome Foundation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Robert and Carolyn Hedin, Pamela Arnold, Sarah RyanWood and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Service Bureau.

footnotes “The word triolet is pretty, like a flower, resembling the violet in looks, but pronounced “TREE-o-LAY.’ The “tri” (meaning “three”) refers to the fact that the opening line occurs three times in this form. The triolet is an eight-line poem with two rhymes and two repeating lines.” (Handbook of Poetic Forms. Ron Padgett, Editor. Teachers & Writers Collaborative, NY: 1987).  2 “Game of folded paper which consists in having several people compose… a drawing collectively, none of the participants having any idea of the nature of the preceding contribution or contributions.” (The Return of the Cadavre Exquis. The Drawing Center, NY: 1993). 1.