March 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 March's posts.

March's Theme: Carried Somewhere Else

When I said that choosing post-its for publication turned into a delightful family activity in February, what I really meant was that both my parents were choosing post-its. While my dad was picking for February, my mom sifted through options for March. This led to some minor disagreements about who got which dates—they were both really attached to the drawing about artists jumping through hoops. Dad won out somehow, keeping it in the February batch; it probably reflects well on everyone involved that no one turned into the terrible villain who tells the guy with the broken back and pneumonia that NOW AFTER ALL THIS he has to choose a different post-it. My mother’s March choices tell extra stories through her perspective. I made the snail to show feeling fragile and ill-equipped, a hesitant snail seemed similarly vulnerable—but also conversely better protected, why don’t I have my own shell at the ready. She chose it because I rescue snails from her garden, relocating them to less treacherous habitats down the street. My companionable concern for their safety makes family members think of me whenever they see snails or slugs; I do not regret that this has led to countless gifts of snail/slug mementos decorating much of my living space. The aunt who uses her bra as an extra pocket was coincidentally about to visit again now. When she arrived I told her about the post-it, made during a similar visit 7 years ago, and she happily exclaimed “well that sounds about right but you know now my friend said I’ll kill myself.” Then explaining “the waves going in you or something when I thought it was the smartest thing,” so now the cell phone is sadly carried somewhere else. There’s a real shifty quality to my grandma’s family’s sentences, I feel like I’m listening in slow motion. In that 7-years-ago March, I was planning a series of drawings inspired by books, rereading old favorites—BUT FOR WORK—a really helpful psychological distinction enabling me to relax into rare hours of reading in bed. My mom’s an English teacher, reading a shared love; she didn’t know what the post-it was about specifically but so many of those favorites were books from her. The art is the cover of The Long Winter, the first chapter book I ever read. It’s hard to revisit those frontier homemaking books of my childhood, historic atrocities pushing at the edges of every main character. But they also show me I’m still 2nd Grade me, my drawings like carefully stocking emotional provisions for the winter of each day. When I said I wished people also liked them for how sad they are, I meant my drawings. But my mother was thinking of being chided for telling sad stories about everyone she meets, distant strangers’ disasters and heartbreak wandering into all our family dinners. She chose the moon drawing because she also loves showing us the moon. I drew it on a trip to visit my friend in Turkey, it’s the bedroom in her partner’s house. We were staying there instead of her own place because it was closer to the hospital; every time I visit her family has an emergency. Except maybe last time I was the emergency. We all have emergencies all the time now anyway, I should visit her more often.