Photo by Kitty O'Connor
"Those buildings. A prison, and a checkpoint miles from the border, a show of strength of reach. But an overreach. All arbitrary. Gates dropped in the desert. Borders change, are temporary.
Many others working on a different story. For the day you'll hardly notice maybe. Just toot your horn at a sign by the road. Look around jokingly. See if it looks any different."
- Pat Staiger, Early March 2016
Layer 5 is made of stories from an autumn writing retreat to the swamps of Chicot State Park, which is marked by a dammed bayou full of permanently submerged cypress trees in Evangeline Parish. Some writers returned from the Layer 3 writing retreat; other new friends were made :) It was early November as the cypress needles just began to change color and citrus trees grew heavy with their fruits. We ate together from those trees and talked and ate some more and wrote. Late at night, a Turkish seer read our fortunes from the bottoms of our coffee cups. What came to pass, in the most material of terms, is this zine, designed by Zaferhan Yumru, as well as a bright new layer of stories on the boat. The paper was carefully and lovingly applied by the students of New Harmony High School and then collaboratively lettered by the writers. In February of 2018, the words and work were celebrated at Mehle Gallery and Studios on the Mississippi River in Arabi. Many were unable to cross the Industrial Canal that day because a giant second line closed down the drawbridge. If you didn't make it, you can enjoy the writings in the zine below, some photos from the retreat, and some more photos from the gallery show by Hannah Patterson.
Major special thanks to
the contributors and writers of this layer: Patrick Staiger, Eleanor Warner, Matt Johnson, Zaferhan Yumru, Mahalia Abeo Tibbs, Kitty O'Connor, and Jennifer Samani
Hayden Reilly for hosting and preparing the gallery at Mehle Studios and hanging the show
The students of New Harmony High, who so carefully applied the new paper for this layer
Mary Staudinger for the crawfish pies and Ed Staudinger for the application of the paper
Anthony Ford for your music
Pippin Frisbie-Calder for the gallery prep and delicious food
David O'Byrne for the lettering work and hanging the show
Margaret Wise Brown for helping to inspire this layer.