The colored bags are noticeable now and the momentum for the project is building. Visitors are bringing their friends back to write more letters to a future generation. One woman returned to edit her letter twice. Many others are "still thinking" about what they want to say.
I have received many text messages and emails from friends and family and I hope that others pass on the invitation as well. I have decided to keep all of the letters private save for a small sampling that serve as a representation of the whole. Here are some examples:
"Don't take advice from people who have lives that you don't want to lead."
"There are MANY people in this world who care about you. Unfortunately, many of those who are more selfish hold a lot of power right now."
"At this point in U.S. History, there is a significant number of people who do not believe in global warming."
"Don't let electronic relationships replace real ones."
"Our cars are fueled by gasoline and we drive them on the ground. We speak to each other by holding palm-sized cell phones up to our ears. We have not yet discovered the cure to Cancer, A.I.D.S., Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, Schizophrenia, or Parkinson's, but we are trying really hard."
I also started the actual "painting" part of the painting today. It is a different feeling to paint in short amounts of time in between conversations with visitors. Sometimes I get a minute or two. Rarely do I get more than that. It's okay, though. I value the conversations a lot more than the painting itself. In fact, right now, the painting seems to be functioning more as a point of inquiry, observation, and conversation than as an object measured valued on its own. With that being said, however, I still hope that it is at least marginally successful on its own. There are never any guarantees, and there are only three days left before the end of the residency.