Sunday, November 14, 2021

On the Road with Marti

One last post about my friend Marti Plager, who died last month.  She and I loved to take road trips together -- to Houston for the big quilt festival three or four times, to Quilt National four or five times, to Pittsburgh for Fiberart International, to Philadelphia for the international SAQA conference,  to Paducah several times for the quilt show, and to a whole lot of workshops, museums and galleries.  

Fifteen years ago I wanted for some reason to enter an art show at the Kerouac Center in Lowell MA.  The artwork was supposed to  have something to do with Jack Kerouac, and I really didn't know or care much about him, so I figured I needed a gimmick.

I did some research and found that when Kerouac sat down to write his famous "On the Road," he had a roll of newsprint wide enough to fit in his typewriter and very, very long.  He started writing at the top of the roll and just kept going.  So I thought I could come up with a roll of Kerouac-style writing too and get into the show. 

I called my piece "On the Road with Marti" and it is a lot of stream-of-consciousness-type reminiscence of some of the many road trips that we took together.  It's too bad the manuscript ends in 2006, because there were many, many more trips that didn't get documented.

I used a typewriter font, printed the manuscript onto rusted muslin, added cross-outs and edits by hand (as writers did in the olden days of typewriters) and quilted it into a scroll.  I don't know what Kerouac lubricated his road trips with, but Marti and I always used red wine, so there's a wine stain too.  And it got into the show.