November's 2018's Post-it note art from Instagram

Over on our Instagram page, we’re posting a weekly installation from Clare Johnson’s Post-it Note Project, a long running daily project. Here’s her wrap-up and statement from November's posts.

November's Theme: That November / Mixed Feelings

Thanksgiving and US elections stress me out. They are scary, and I don’t really want to talk about it. On the other hand, there’s my old love rainy weather. And sometimes a particular November turns out ok. These post-its are from a fateful November two years ago—yes, that November, one that very noticeably did not turn out ok. For me, that month started with a trip to the East Coast, staying with a college friend for a few days while we collaborated on what was both the most and least glamorous project ever. She and her partner provided an ACTUAL GUEST ROOM for me to stay in. The good fortune of having queer friends with guest rooms should never be underestimated, please remind me to delight in this memory more often ok? One wall was resplendent with old nautical prints; I don’t know why rooms on the other coast always feel darker to me than Seattle ones. In their bathroom, my musical-theater-loving friend had hung framed sheet music from eras past, including a 1910 song called “I’ve Got The Time, I’ve Got The Place—But It’s Hard To Find The Girl.” The bathroom is a great place to contemplate things, and I found myself contemplating the photo on the cover of that song. Crisply-pressed suit and tie; sweet smile; hat held politely in subtly gentle hand. Compelling in a way you’d only understand if you do. My friend explained the dapper young singer was professional male impersonator Hetty King, famed in English music halls of the early 1900s. Election day hit silently while I was on a train into New York, my ballot sent in long before the trip, bad news rolling through the city as the night went on, inescapable. (Inescapable, that is, unless you were the seemingly oblivious straight white couple on a first date next to me at that one empty-ish bar, forcing your loudly self-indulgent flirting down everyone’s throats, flaunting your privileged straight white happiness as the TV news anchors flailed and dread clamped down over my head and chest. You guys were awful.) When I got back to Seattle, there were so many people smiling at me. On the phone with another friend I shared my delighted confusion at these open, friendly looks around the neighborhood. Her theory was that I look gay—in the wake of the election, she posited, maybe these people were scrambling to reassure any visible minorities in their vicinity that they were sympathetic, safe, sorry even. There’s no way to know the answer. And then Thanksgiving—long days. Explaining anything feels wrong, because at the end of the day you don’t need to know my whole day, ever.