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Keep the beautiful pen busy.


Brooklyn, NY
USA

Handwritten is a place and space for pen and paper. We showcase things in handwriting, but also on handwriting. And so, you'll see dated letters and distant postcards alongside recent studies and typed stories. 

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Notes from My Soul in the Morning • Kate Hoyle

Brett Rawson

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Kate Hoyle is a poet and visual artist from Moraga, California. Her work has been published in Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, The AUDACITY and Smokelong Quarterly. Her five poem series, On America, is currently touring the US and South America on exhibit in U2’s Joshua Tree World Tour. You can see more of her work at katehoyle.com

Carly Butler to be Letters Editor at Handwritten • A Handwritten Announcement

Brett Rawson

BY HANDWRITTEN

Eight months ago, we welcomed Carly Butler to the Handwritten Team as curator of a new column, Life's Letters. It was inspired by a discovery that led to a journey: after finding 110 love letters written from her grandmother to her grandfather, Carly packed her bags and went to the address of the first letter: London, England.

The only catch is: she had just fallen in love. So while she spent months retracing her grandmother's steps and reliving her letters day-by-day, she, too, was embarking on her own love and life through long-distant letters. All the while revisiting the past and dreaming of the future, Carly encountered scores of people who all had stories of their own, and finally, someone to share them with: Carly. This is the very reason Carly wanted to start the column: to showcase other peoples' stories as contained and ignited by the handwritten letter. Each story she curated detonated silently in the heart, from An Informal Memoir Joselyn Smith-Greene to The Keepers by Sharon Huget. And it's been such a wild joy to watch the stories unfold and get shared around the world. 

You won't see Life's Letters as a column, but the spirit lives on: as Letters Editor, Carly will be editing and curating all things letter-related, but she'll also be more involved with Handwritten's exhibitions, social media, events, and even the digital curriculum we're currently creating in collaboration with Karen Benke. To have her more involved brings us tremendous joy, as she is a trilateral power base of kindness, laughter, and great ideas.

We can't wait to see what the next 8 months bring! 

Ink Responsibly,
Handwritten

"OUT LOUD" is Back at Flatiron Plaza (7/28)

Brett Rawson

BY HANDWRITTEN

On June 30th, Handwritten held OUT LOUD, an afternoon of bearing witness through writing, for the first time. We set up a microphone in one of the most iconic, and busiest, intersections in New York City and began reading from letters, journals, and deep storage. We're happy to be invited back by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership's Summer Series and, in partnership with Pen + Brush Gallery, bring the private once against into the public. Details are:

Public Plaza
Broadway, 5th Avenuve, And 23rd St
12-2pm, Thursday, July 28, 2016

"OUT LOUD" is about bringing our private lives to the public. It is about smudging the borders between ourselves and others that keep us from sharing who we are and learning more about those around us. We invite people to share those thoughts formerly kept to themselves, whether written in diaries or letters, in the open. Because, to adjust an Adrienne Rich quote, when one person tells the truth, it creates the possibility for more truth around them.

In a city of 8.5 million of people, it's easy to feel anonymous, alone, and apart. Authentic intimacy can seem difficult to come by. We find that writing down our thoughts and reflections whether in journal entries or letters to friends and family is a helpful way to process what it is to be alive today. At "Out Loud," we want you to share these confessions, meditations, and reflections with the larger public. 

You can read excerpts of things you've written or things someone else has written to you. And for those of you who can't make the event or want to partake but not speak, you can still participate: send us your excerpt and allow it to be read by those in the audience, or our roster of performers.

Email us at info@handwrittenwork.com to let us know how you'd like to partake.

Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup • Ruth Zamoyta

Brett Rawson

Note from curator Rozanne Gold: This recipe, rumored to induce labor, was lovingly shared with me by Ruth Zamoyta who is the Development & Communications Director at New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a published poet and playwright.  The recipe was written by Ruth’s South African friend, Hildegarde Webber.  Hilde and Ruth’s husbands were both students at Yale’s School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut in the early 1990s.  Ruth keeps this piece of handwritten history in a recipe box that her mom, Carolyn Zamoyta, gave her – “a box overflowing with ingredients scribbled on index cards, cut from newspapers, magazines, mayonnaise jar labels, and sugar boxes.”  I made the soup; it is delicious.  

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Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup by Ruth Zamoyta

My baby was due December 7th, 1994.  I had planned ahead.  All the Christmas presents had been bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree by November 30th, in case he arrived early.

Ha.

By December 15th, I was dragging my 40-pound-overweight body around downtown New Haven, Connecticut, trying the old wives’ remedy for over-dueness: walking. In the Yale bookstore I ran into my friend Woody who was studying midwifery. I told her that I was trying to induce labor by walking. 

“It’s actually the opposite,” she said. “Your uterus needs to relax and store up some energy.  Go home and take a nap.”  So, I retraced my steps back home to graduate family housing — one whole mile — and collapsed in my bed. I woke up around three o’clock.  No contractions.  That’s when my friend Hilde called.  She sighed and said, “You need the soup.” I asked her to explain. 

Hilde said that when she was overdue with her son, a friend had given her a special carrot soup recipe known to induce labor instantly in the most wretched and piteous of overdue mothers. I told her I was desperate and would try anything, so she drove over and gave me this recipe, transcribed in pencil, on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. Note the bottom line: "If all else fails, try castor oil!" 

The ingredients were pretty standard, except for the heavy cream, so I had my husband run out and get that. As I sliced the carrots, I instinctively knew that this would work. I threw everything in the pot and stirred occasionally, envisioning holding a baby in my arms the next morning. I glanced at the front door of the apartment, to make sure my overnight bag was at its side, ready to grab and go. I looked in the freezer and made sure the pre-made dinners were still there. I glanced at the tree, twinkling in the living room. 

Soon the soup was ready.  I filled a bowl for myself (my husband wouldn’t touch it) and ate the last spoonful.  It was time to go to the hospital. 

It was a fairytale birth, a long but happy pain, and the biggest surprise was when I was on the delivery table, waiting for the next urge to push, and I pushed, and the baby crested, and the nurse down below exclaimed, “He has red hair!”  My husband (brown hair) and I (a blonde) looked at each other incredulously. Minutes later, when I held my little son to my chest, I looked down and saw that it was true: I had given birth to a carrot top.  

There are some other interesting phenomena surrounding my son, Colm O’Toole’s, birth and hair. When we heard that red hair must come from both sides of the family, my husband and I had to do some investigating. It turns out that my grandfather's mother had red hair, and on Sean's side, his grandmother had had red hair, though it was already white by the time Sean was born, so he hadn't known. 

It just so happens that Colm was born on December 17th, Sean's grandmother's birthday — the granny with the red hair. Also, if you count back 9 months from December 17th, you get March 17th — St Patrick's day.  Colm is now 21, and my other children Róisín O'Toole, 24, and Liadain O’Toole, 12.  No soup was required. 

 

Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup by Ruth Zamoyta

 Serves 6

Hilde’s “Overdue” Carrot Soup
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
1 onion, chopped (5 oz. onion)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 10 oz.) 
1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced (about 10 oz.) 
2 sprigs parsley
5 cups chicken stock (or canned broth)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot, add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the potatoes and parsley and stir two minutes.  

Stir in the stock and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Put through a strainer or vegetable mill or puree in a blend or food processor.  

Return to the pot, stir in the cream, add salt and pepper to taste and reheat without boiling.  Serve hot or cold (Can also add paprika and other spices to taste.)  (If all else fails, try castor oil!!!)    

** Note from Rozanne: I added a large pinch of garam masala and used fresh thyme from my window box, instead of parsley.

 

The Busy Land of Human Beings • A Young Man in 1974

Brett Rawson

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This journal excerpt comes from the online exhibition, "Out Loud." To see the full exhibit, click here.

I Believed I Had the Power of Disintegration • Alberto Quero

Brett Rawson

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Alberto Quero was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. He holds a BA in Literature and Linguistics, a Masters in Venezuelan literature and a Doctorate in Humanities by the University of Zulia. He has published six books of short stories and a book of poems. He has written poems in English, which have been published in England and the USA. He has also published many peer-reviewed articles for university journals. He is a member of the Iberian American Writers’ Association, the International Writers’ Parliament in Colombia and the Semiotics Association of Venezuela. Currently, he is the volunteer literary reporter at “Literary News”, a radio show aired on CKCU 93.1, a FM station which belongs to Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada)

"OUT LOUD" A Handwritten and Pen & Brush Event (6/30)

Brett Rawson

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BY HANDWRITTEN

As part of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership's Summer Series, and in partnership with Pen & Brush, Handwritten brings you "Out Loud," an afternoon of bearing witness through writing. The details are below: 

Public Plaza
Broadway, 5th Avenuve, and 23rd St
12-2pm, Thursday, June 30, 2016

"OUT LOUD" is about bringing our private lives to the public. It is about smudging the borders between ourselves and others that keep us from sharing who we are and learning more about those around us. We invite people to share those thoughts formerly kept to themselves, whether written in diaries or letters, in the open. Because, to adjust an Adrienne Rich quote, when one person tells the truth, it creates the possibility for more truth around them.

In a city of 8.5 million of people, it's easy to feel anonymous, alone, and apart. Authentic intimacy can seem difficult to come by. We find that writing down our thoughts and reflections whether in journal entries or letters to friends and family is a helpful way to process what it is to be alive today. At "Out Loud," we want you to share these confessions, meditations, and reflections with the larger public. 

You can read excerpts of things you've written or things someone else has written to you. And for those of you who can't make the event or want to partake but not speak, you can still participate: send us your excerpt and allow it to be read by those in the audience, or our roster of performers.

Email us at info@handwrittenwork.com to let us know how you'd like to partake.

He Just Smiled, Said Hello, and Went On His Way • Lora Ackermann

Brett Rawson

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BY LORA ACKERMANN

While searching for any of the many examples of handwritten cards and notes from my family, I came across a journal of mine. This is an incredibly special journal, entirely handwritten, spanning from my first of what would eventually be four ovarian surgeries (over the course of many years) in August of 1992, through the death of my maternal grandmother in March of 1995, her husband, my grandfather in May of 1995, and ending with my soon-to-be wedding in October of 1995. These pages hold such a roller coaster of euphoria and pain. So many entries that touch my heart, soul, and spirit, drawing memories from places long forgotten to the routines of daily life. So many memories bringing new pains of loss and journeyed paths now closed. 

There truly is something to say about the handwritten page. There’s a certain comfort, a warmth, as though the lines are reaching forward, surrounding me in a hug, and drawing me in. As I re-read some of these entries, I can detect, in the formation of the letters, the slant of the words, the stains on the pages, changes in mood, emotion, stress level, time management, and so many other delicate strands that make up these layered memories; delicacies that would be but lost in simplified print. The handwriting, like the musical score of a movie, tells its very own story; separate from the worded memories they so eagerly record. 

Even after reading these pieces of my life from those years, pieces that now seem centuries away from reality, the entry on those first pages still strikes me the most. I had only been home from my first major surgery at age 20 for a day or two. Having received the good news that what was thought to be ovarian cancer wasn’t, I was free to heal and live my life in gratitude. I had a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for the little things life tended to toss haphazardly in my path and it showed in this entry. 

August 29, 1992

…..I just returned from a walk around the block—oh what memories lie in some of the houses around here—not just my own. I can look at Elizabeth’s house, or Suzy’s house, or LouAnne’s, and still see inside, 12-13 years ago….’youngins’ they’d call us. I see Liz and myself in her room, making stickers w/ double-sided tape—we made them out of just about anything—wrapping paper, pictures, things we’d colored, etc.

I see Suzy and I in her room—so pink—pink carpet, bedspread, walls, bright pink, light pink—if ever there was a pink room it was Suzy’s. I see the laundry chute and the poster of ‘Frank Poncherello’ from the TV show, “CHIPS” above her bed. (We had a crush on him, though I liked his partner better.) I see Suzy & I sitting on the floor in her ‘play room’ eating Fruitloops from the box and watching “Emergency 911” (or something like that)—she always said that one of the men was her daddy—They did look alike and for a while I believed her, too! 

I see LouAnne & I in her room playing w/Barbie dolls—she had a loft bed with a yellow carpet underneath. 

I also see inside another house down the street; a brown house next to the Woolsey’s and an elderly woman who used to live there alone. Unfortunately, I don’t remember her name—I wish I did. She used to read to me and she helped teach me to read so that when I was old enough—so to speak, I often read books to her. She was a very kind woman. I wonder how she faired after she moved. I was too young to remember why she moved—family reasons I suppose. I missed her for quite some time. I think sometimes I still do. Perhaps. 

I find that at times I even miss ‘Joe.’ ‘Joe’ was a man who ever since I could remember walked every day. Twice a day he passed our house. ‘Joe’ wasn’t his real name. I don’t know what it is actually. ‘Joe’ was a friendly man who always had a wonderful smile to give any passerby—anyone at all. I think he had a stroke or heart attack. I think he may still be alive, but he doesn’t walk around here anymore. Perhaps he moved; perhaps he just doesn’t walk anymore. ‘Joe’ never corrected us in regard to his name—he just smiled, said hello, & went on his way—leaving smiles on our faces for a long time after. I really did think his name was ‘Joe’ until I was about 15 or 16 when Mom told us differently. She told us his real name, but I still call him ‘Joe.’ Perhaps it’s ‘Joe’ that I owe, in part, my smiling fetish to. Perhaps.

Even typing up these wordssuch layered memories; memories of people who touched my life, beneath memories of writing the entry itself, beneath those of healing, speaking volumes in the spaces between the letters, the lines between the lines; you know the onesthe ones that speak to our hearts, pulling in our soul’s deepest comforts, the ones that can dry a dampened spirit or bring light to the darkest corners. Yes, so many layers that can only be fully appreciated to the depths they desire in their original, handwritten form. 

Today, I journal, too. Sometimes I type. Other times I dictate. But many a time, I pick up my pen, one of the many paper journals my amazing friends have gifted me recently, find a quiet space all my own, and, even for just a few blessed moments, I disappear into the notes of the score, the layers of the letters, the spaces between the words and lines, and the hidden pleasures and soul-soothing rhythms found only when pen, from hand to page, journeys forth.