Thank you to poet and fellow SLC-grad Alli Shaloum Brydon for discussing her new project 100 Messages in 100 Tiny Bottles. While she is writing directly to her future son, readers will find lovely nuggets of truth and kindness in each post.
Thank you to Chloe for inviting me to write a guest blog post about my recent project, a tumblr blog called 100 Messages in 100 Tiny Bottles.
100 Messages in 100 Tiny Bottles started as an attempt to write one hundred messages to our unborn child before he enters the world this November. My original idea was actually to create a visual/poetic art project for the baby where I wrote one hundred messages on little parchment scrolls, placed them in little bottles, and exhibited the bottles in a wooden display case. I’ve recently become obsessed with the physicality of words, and how they function in a three-dimensional space rather than just on the page. I’ve wanted to create a project in which the reader/viewer can interact with my words and manipulate them as they see fit for their own experience. 100 Messages, in blog form, is not quite there yet, but I have heard from some people who take one or two of my messages particularly to heart, carrying them around in their minds for the day/week/month. I think this is a good start!
During my first trimester of pregnancy, I really was hoping to start documenting the experience by writing poems. This quickly became too daunting, with glorious fatigue and nausea to deal with. I settled on writing small messages rather than longer poems as a way to make myself feel like I was doing any writing at all. I found that I could use 100 Messages as an excuse to make me feel better. "I'm writing something," I told myself. And isn’t that the struggle sometimes? Just to get something down on the page, no matter what it is?
The difference between the messages and my longer poems quickly became obvious to me: for the messages I had a very specific audience-of-one in mind. This felt liberating and also frightening. I am using the messages to communicate with my unborn child with the hopes he will read them one day. Each one showcases my personal philosophies, funny observations, or raw emotions--those ideas might (probably will) change over the next 18 years. Will I be held to my messages like they are promises?
In my poetry I can easily fictionalize, or try to pass my words off as fiction. So, in a way, I am being more truthful to myself and my son through writing these messages. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found this to be one of the toughest things to do in poetry. Perhaps I am doing myself a favor by having started the most honest project I have ever done.
Perhaps this is the perfect way to start motherhood.
Visit Alli’s tumblr blog 100 Messages in 100 Tiny Bottles and follow along, with new posts almost daily, or on Twitter @100messages.