I continue to be amazed at the unusual ways in which random, yet somehow perfect, essays were chosen for artists in the recent 37days challenge card art project. Here’s one more story of such a serendipity, this one by artist Kate McGovern:
"When I first discovered 37 days, it was through a Google search. I can’t remember exactly what I was looking for, but I think it was waiter blogs. At the time, I was a bartender in a Washington, D.C. r
"The only thing that kept me sane was reading other waiters’ and bartenders’ blogs. There’s just something about knowing that you’re not the only person out there with The Worst Job in the World that makes it a little easier to bear.
"So in searching for more restaurant employees whining about the daily grind, I stumbled upon ‘Bust Your Toast Rules.’ How appropriate that I was trying to find someone with whom to commiserate, and I ended up with Patti, an inspiration.
"My first reading of the essay left me laughing so hard that I cried. I know that D.C. café very well, and that scenario was so familiar to me. Patti was right; it was cigarette time. (My favorite part was the indignant blinking. Now, every time I do that, I hear Patti’s ‘voice’ in my head, saying, ‘Blink Blink. Blink.’)
"It is now six months later and my life has changed quite a bit. Someone took a chance on me and now I’m a full-time editor (read: health insurance and weekends!). I’m also a freelance photographer. But, the essay I commonly refer to as ‘Toast Rules’ has stuck with me. All of Patti’s essays strike a chord with me, but none have meant so much to me as Toast Rules did and does.
"When I heard about the opportunity to work on the book, I was so excited to participate, and immediately had enormous aspirations for all the things I could capture with my camera. I didn’t request any specific essays, mainly because I had no specific ideas yet, but, lo and behold, I ended up with Toast Rules.
"I felt that the most important elements of Toast Rules were toast, obviously, and a cigarette. Busting your toast rules, to me, means saying, ‘Forget this!’ What says that more than putting out your cigarette in someone’s toast? So I handed my very confused boyfriend a cigarette and a Ziploc sandwich bag and sent him outside with instructions to smoke half, gently put it out on the curb, place it in the plastic baggie, and bring it back to me. (The Boy is a very straight-laced, practical-minded law student, but always does his best to understand-–or at the very least, blindly support–my latest artistic undertaking.)
"So several hours (and one very smelly house) later, I ended up with this photo."
Thanks, Kate, for sharing the photo–and the serendipity of the essay assignment you received! One wonders at the relatedness of these essays to these fabulous artists…