The Yes of Jillian’s Typewriter

IMG_4167A woman came to my recent collage workshop with a small stack of old National Geographics tucked under arm. Yes, I noticed those rare items. We began choosing, cutting, arranging, layering, reconsidering, and, eventually, pasting—creating art. Walking around to see just what everyone was up to, I encountered a group of inspired makers at work.

At Jillian’s place beside her beginning collage was a photo she’d cut out of a small old-fashioned typewriter. Yes, from one of her copies of National Geographic, circa 1900. She saw me eye it though I’d tried to keep my coveting from her.

Without hesitation, Jillian reached for the image and handed it to me. “Are you sure?” I asked (tongue hanging). “Yes, really,” she replied.

My mother was a secretary all her working life. When she decided it was time for me to learn to type, it was before her IBM Selectric that I was seated. She could type 183 words per minute with nearly a single mistake. I was unhappy that summer she insisted I spend a couple hours a day learning the keyboard, picking up speed, but I’m been grateful to her for that (and lots more).

Jillian’s typewriter was all I needed, that and the word “yes” which I’d already cut out, and the mysterious dark-haired woman who’d gotten my attention quite sometime ago and had been waiting patiently in my collection of images.

When working at a keyboard, I often stare off into the middle distance and watch my thoughts come forward and slip out of my fingers, falling onto the “page.” Making a collage is a similar process though I do carefully watch the scissor blades’ direction.

“Yes!” Could there be a better word? I love how nature says yes all the time. There is little that stops the yes of ever-adaptable, determined nature. (The drought sure is making it tough though, and man, of course, over and over again.) Still nature does her best to find a way. And you?

How lucky that today I can take my less-than-adaptable-nature out onto the earth and grow my yeses. Here’s wishing you a bouquet of yeses, a whole meadow, entire forests full.


(Thank you to Jillian Pinney for the typewriter, Denese Sanders of Open Ground Studios for hosting the workshop mentioned above, and Sarojani Rohan for the timely email.)