EKPHRASIS : Art Describing Art : 2015
California Writers Club, Mendocino Branch : A Collaboration : Artists Co-Op of Mendocino
Writers Providing Works for Visual Artists Responses
Chet Boddy “A Passion for Paper”
Provided work for the responding visual artist,
Joe DuVivier “Nightlife”
A PASSION FOR PAPER by Chet Boddy
The man sat reading, surrounded by all the books he had ever owned. Some were still unread but most awaited the pleasure of re-reading, which is the gift of time and forgetfulness. His cabin was filled with boxes of magazine and newspaper clippings excised with surgical care, notated in pencil and organized in manila file folders. The man devoured the printed page in search of knowledge and meaning, but each revelation only led to more questions and new fields of inquiry. He expressed his longing through music, always keeping his piano, guitar and banjo tuned and within reach. A shelf of binders held thousands of songs he had practiced and perfected over the years. Sometimes he withdrew to his kitchen, concocting delights from his vast collection of cookbooks and meticulous hand-written recipes. Other times he found comfort in the past. His photograph albums spanned three centuries of family history encompassing great-grandparents, his own melancholy childhood and youth, and the happy stressful years of family life. There were photos of his grandchildren printed on real paper instead of those worthless digital phantoms that everyone used today. His grown children were amused by his passion for paper, but dreaded the burden of hauling all this stuff to the dump some day.
Eighteen hours earlier a towering solar flare had triggered a coronal mass ejection which sent a ten billion-ton plasma ball careening towards earth. The massive cloud of charged particles fried satellites in orbit and milliseconds later induced huge direct current voltages in the power grid, exploding multi-ton transformers and plunging the developed world into silence and darkness. Hundreds of millions of desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone screens went suddenly and permanently blank. Sensing something had happened, the man put down his book and walked outside into the night. He marveled at the colors of the aurora borealis, rarely seen this far south. All he could hear was the distant sigh of the ocean through the trees.