Last Thursday, during my processing of the Maine Women in the Fine and Performing Arts (MAWFPA) collection, I had a lovely thing happen. I am getting towards the end of re-housing all the materials in acid free folders and boxes, working my way through the remaining couple boxes of loose and disorganized papers. I had been putting off looking through this one overly full folder of items that had a title that I knew had nothing to do with anything else in the collection. When I opened it, I found it full of papers that made no sense together at all, as if some one swiped this pile off a desk corner (or two) and shoved it in a randomly titled folder. I checked in with Cathleen and together we decided it should be taken apart and sorted according to the series structure I had carried over from the organization’s filing system. So I pulled it all out and put financial things with other financial things and the couple artists’ bios and resumes in the right folder.
Also in there was this one piece of paper filled half way with someone’s story. It was a printed font, but not the typewriter font of many other documents in this collection, as it dates from about 1977 through 1983. The page was numbered 16 in the top right corner. For some reason I recognized the font and even a bit of the story or the rhythm of how it was typed out, as I still had not actually read the writing through. I hung on to it and pulled out the Membership & Submissions series that I knew contained the artists’ submissions to Spectra 2, the organization’s multidisciplinary month-long art exhibition and showcase that took place around the state of Maine in October of 1982. I located the folder with the poetry and prose submissions (a rather stuffed one) and started to go through page by page. Each submission is numbered though some are only one sheet with a poem and others are short stories or essays that are any where from a few to twenty pages.
So I kept going page by page and I found this lovely poem entitled Leaving by Rosa Lane. I had not paused to read anything yet, but I felt compelled to read this poem (see it below) and I quickly fell for it, so much so that I had to write it down for myself.
Turning back, I then kept going through the folder. I got to submission number 28, a short story called Smoke by Lucy Honig, the last one in the folder amazingly. I immediately recognized the distinct font and started flipping through the multi-page submission…page 5… page 9… page 15… I added page number 16, the last page of her short story. Last week, this was my small and pleasing moment in the archive. I am happy knowing that I put her story back together and will leave it in one whole piece.
Below is the poem I found along the way…