Open Water is a one-of-a-kind altered book. The original book is a vintage navigation chart book for the Kanawha River of West Virginia, published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April of 1949. The images in the book are a series of simple, cut & paste collages I did earlier this year, each using one or two images imposed on an open ocean water view. The cover is spray-painted and the text of the book, printed in pale gray on translucent paper, was written by me for this project. Some views of the book and the poem follow:
In the beginning was the blue dream of an impossible sea.
Shards of watery light penetrated the dryness of my soul.
The sea has no set form; it rushes in to obliterate whatever landscape dares to meet it.
It cannot be measured. So it is with love.
The sea offers pearls and glittering scales and sharp slants of cool light, but
riptides guard her borders.
In her depths are dead men tangled in the fibrous bones of shipwrecks and great monsters.
So it is with love.
When I first whispered your name, the waves answered.
It was a language I had never learned:
Not wind, but sighs.
Not ocean, but waiting.
Not you, not you.
But later, when finally I fell to my knees and surrendered to the waves,
I heard a softer whisper.
I do not remember who I was before I met you.
And I will never know who you were before you met me.
We have been washed clean by these relentless waves,
this overwhelming tide,
this everlasting sea.
We are sailing our own sea, you and me.
Monsters lie below, but fathoms of blueness separate us, protect us.
And as we sail on, I am certain of nothing except the soft memory of blueness,
--Lynn Skordal, "Open Water" (2014)