January 2019'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 December's posts.

January's Theme: Chosen By My Sister

I love publishing these, and I also hate choosing which ones to publish. I’m not great at making decisions. The decisions themselves turn out fine—I’m just terrible at coming to one. My monthly post-it choice overwhelms me with self-consciousness and time, throwing fistfuls of years and life in my face at once. Who knows which moments above others are better, worth anyone else’s time. My little sister was in town last month, inspiring a brilliant temporary solution: I should make her choose them. I hesitate to assign hierarchies (decisions, ugh) but it’s possible that my sister is the #1 BIGGEST FAN EVER of my Post-it Note Project. Maybe. I felt she was a good target. She briskly narrowed her scope to 2013; I know why, and I don’t want to talk about it right now. Charmingly, she initially seemed to be drawn to a healthy dose of pieces featuring herself (there are many), but then took a slightly alarming turn towards the theme of my divorce. That spotlight makes me a little squeamish, but I played by the rules and didn’t edit her choices. The first one anticipates another February, traditionally my most vulnerable month—superstitiously fearing deaths, more losses. Trying to prepare, or trying on hopefulness, laughing at myself. The laptop drawing feels jarring; in the day-to-day now I forget, lose the details of how the partnered version of my life ended. The friends pressuring me about online dating have long since moved away for spouses met through random computer-free coincidences, so I find myself less encumbered by such suggestions nowadays. It’s sweet that she chose the Doris Day post-it—she’s so delightfully on board with all things dyke. Apparently I’m just enough older to have made lesbian cool from an early age. She lives states away but we’re also so crazily close; I think some part of her feels disguised by her own straightness when I’m not around. The divorce meerkat came into my life thanks to my former in-laws, who I speculate bestowed it upon me in a panic of powerlessness and care the night that their daughter left me. We were staying with them a lot; my wife was at work, I was on the top floor of their house when I got her message. My mother-in-law was somewhere downstairs; I don’t know how much she and my father-in-law knew. When he got home from work he confusingly thrust a foot-high, strangely realistic meerkat figurine into my arms. Jauntily, awkwardly, kindly; saying “this is for you.” I never asked them about it. I do like meerkats. When I finally moved into my own place years later, unpacked the boxes from England, there it was, bland and blisteringly hard to look at. There aren’t words. The helpless love in their baffling gesture, the unbearable time travel of this cute, tacky meerkat that traveled an ocean and continent and three years into the future to track me down, break my heart. It makes me laugh out loud and utterly crushes my soul to the floor. I’m sort of miffed at my sister for tricking me into talking about this. Last I saw it, the divorce meerkat was headed to North Carolina to live with my cousin during her own divorce. She’s a grief and bereavement counselor and enjoys a dark joke.