Postcards from "El camino de Santiago"
The postcards also are part of this intimacy shared between sender and recipient. When reading them, one has to identify with the person receiving the postcards but also through the act of reading them, is taking the voice of the sender.
During my walking pilgrimage "The Way of Santiago" in 1999, through the north of Spain, I started to send postcards regularly to my two thesis advisors Tim and Yvonne. Eventually, I asked other people I met during my pilgrimage to write to them directly. When I sent those postcards I was creating imaginary lines between one place and another in my imagination. Postcards contain for me the idea of a place that can be moved, and somehow be in more than one place at the same time. These postcards physically crossed distances by airplane. The distance that you travel by airplane can only be imagined but it can never be fully understood by the body.
While I was writing the postcards, I noticed that in every shelter where the pilgrims stopped fot the night, there was a book where every one could write about their experiences. Some people would use it to leave messages for other pilgrims that they had met before and were now behind them. For instance, they would make plans to see each other in a certain city or to find out about how they were doing. This was the way that people had to communicate with each other since no one had a fixed address where one could call or send a letter. Often they would tell their stories and try to express their experiences. I saw this book as a counterpoint to the postcards I was writing. Postcards had an origin and a destiny, and someone waiting at one end. The 'pilgrims book' is a text that does not move, it is the 'writer' and 'reader' who passes by, leaving their mark on it.
These postcards reflect the impossibility of adequately translating an experience into words. I am trying to translate an experience with written words, and the more intense the feeling the more inadequate the words seem. Some times cliches seem the only way to express what I feel and I give in to the urge. When you read my postcards you may or may not relate to the feelings I am trying to express, I don't always relate to them myself. I realized that I was not talking about my experience as a pilgrim or about how I felt at the time, but I was trying to fix the transitory and the ephemeral nature of all phenomena and feeling.