The short story:
Writers from coast to coast to coast each received a different picture of litter with the request that they submit a response in any form, inspired by that debris.
Those responses will be posted.
Canadian writers = a phenomenal bunch.
All of this is done in support of Frontier College and the work they do to promote literacy from coast to coast to coast.
The medium sized story — aka: why litter??
I’ve been picking up litter for years, possibly eons. I try always to carry bags when I walk. But sometimes I don’t have a bag, so I’ll just pick up the odd Timmy’s cup, a can, a water bottle, egg carton, hub cap. There’s never nothing to pick up. It becomes a habit.
Once you start seeing it, you see it everywhere.
Occasionally I’m rewarded by finding bits of paper with interesting things scrawled on them. Notes, directions, letters, envelopes. Some of it beautifully cryptic and I begin wondering about the provenance of this or that. Who’s Bonita? And why is she thanking Chris for looking after Harry? Who’s Harry? A dog? Her dad, a kid, her renegade step-grandmother Harriet? And this list… is it for a party, a prison visit; who’s going to eat the mini marshmallows listed between ‘chicken soup’ and ‘toothpaste’?
The best of these bits, I keep.
That’s right. I have a litter collection. (What? You don’t?)
The idea of connecting litter and literacy happened when it occurred to me that, beyond alliteration, there are real similarities: both are problems, both are ubiquitous, but only one is visible. It became a Pavlovian thing: I can no longer see litter without thinking illiteracy.
Once you start thinking about it, you realize it’s everywhere.
And so I wondered if there was a way of sharing that connection so litter might become a small weird trigger to remind us that there are a lot of people out there who can’t read what’s written on that debris.
Plus, the trash inspired writing is a bundle of exquisitely trashy goodness.
So please visit. Come back often. And if you ever feel compelled to click the Donate box on the Home Page, it will take you to Frontier College, where you can choose what programs you’d like to support, and where even a few dollars will be received with much gratitude.
On behalf of those who can’t yet put gratitude into words: thank you for supporting literacy.
Thank you to the writers.
To the readers.
And to everyone in-between.
p.s. — The Student Story
As of May, 2016, the project will also be including students from creative writing programs across the country.
Browse the ‘student’ tab for details or contact me.