Olivia Newport greeting card art

Ten years of greeting cards

When people ask me what I “do,” I have to resist the urge to make the kind of joke my mother would make. She would wave her hands in the air and say, “I do this,” followed by sliding her feet and saying, “then sometimes I do this.” Mom cracks people up because she goes to the usually unexpected literal meaning when the other person is using an expression that doesn’t mean anything literal at all. And she’s 90, so they really don’t expect it.

When someone asks what kind of work I do, I might answer that I smash words around until they come out right, or something like that. I spend a lot of time smashing words around. I guess it takes that long to get them right.

But sometimes I want to try something different. A few months ago I actually did it.

I had at least ten year’s worth of greeting cards overflowing a basket tucked away in my dining room. It used to be a small basket, then a medium one, then a fairly large one. I resolved to do something about those cards beyond dumping them into ever-bigger baskets. The ironic thing is that I would not say that I am terribly sentimental about greeting cards. It’s not like I looked through all the cards, like, ever.

So why did I even save them all those years?

Because I always saw the potential for them to be something more. The urge to do something creative that did not involve smashing words around wouldn’t leave me. So I finally had a window of a couple of weeks where my evenings were clear and I went at it.

I sorted all those cards into color groups. Then I sliced them into strips of various sizes. I bought some cheap-o frames at an outlet store (seriously cheap—I spent a dollar total for all four), some spray-on photo adhesive, and some brush-on Mod Podge.

You see the result in the photograph here.

While I’m not sentimental about the cards themselves, I guess I’m a little sentimental about the moments they marked and the people who have loved me through them. Now I have these four frames hanging in the room where I drop into my recliner for a little TV before bedtime. Just a glance at the frames makes me grateful for all the years they contain—and just a little more eager for what the next ten years will bring.