alex was here – pt. one

Note to Self by alexandrawrote

Note to Self, by alexandrawrote (featuring words by Edenland)

Remembrance is a form of meeting.
  — Khalil Gibran

I began writing here a few months ago, after saying that this great big world seems to shrink a little via the blogosphere. I could see this delicate string that seemed to connect so many together. However unexpectedly.

Only connect…

Eden and I became friends through tragedy. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but if not for the BP Gulf oil spill, I would not have been a part of a BlogHer/kirtsy benefit last July: artists and writers working to create pieces for the The Nature Conservancy. As a photographer, I was given the words of a stranger to work with. Eden was that stranger. I sent my completed artwork to BlogHer (Note to Self, above).

Then, I read Eden’s blog for the first time, read beyond the eight lines I had been sent for the project. And I saw words all too familiar. Words no one should know:

B-Cell Follicular Aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

And a friendship across hemispheres was born. (Click here to read the posts that explain the whole story. Go ahead. I’ll wait.).

In March, Eden left me this note:

Wait til I email you a dastardly beautiful plan. HINT: It’s to do with creativity, hope, art, and cancer. You are so totally in.

And when she emailed me, once again, the world got just that much smaller.

Eden’s friend Vee, lost her husband, Alex, to an extremely rare cancer, Leiomyosarcoma, one year ago today (it’s officially the 11th in Australia). And while his wife and their baby boy are joined by friends and family to remember him, well, I just think Alex left this world before he could meet all the people he should have met. Photographed all the people and places he should have had the chance to see.

Eden had this brilliant idea to place his walk into oncology wards and brighten the world with his beautiful art. And yesterday, she and Vee did. Ah-mazing.

Unfortunately, I explained, here in LA it’s not quite possible to sneak into a hospital ward with a giant canvas. You first have to give the security guy your ID and get a sticker. And then your cover is blown.

NEWSFLASH: I’m not Banksy. I didn’t want to get arrested for trying to hang a picture at Cedars.

But I had another idea.

Vee sent me a beautiful mixed media piece of Alex’s and I penned a few words and had them printed on 5×5 cards. (Because the internet is ginormous, and Vee and Alex’s baby boy deserves a bit of privacy, I’m leaving out their last name.)

With some help, I spread the cards around town. From Santa Monica to Westwood to West Hollywood to the Valley.

On Third Street Promenade, I was met by various reactions. Many people were kind. I’d told Eden I was prepared for the cold shoulder by those who’d assume I was passing out flyers for a discount mani-pedi, but I was a bit surprised by how personally I took the rejection.

And the realization that I so often smile and shake my head when offered what I assume is a flyer for a discount mani-pedi but, in fact, could be someone who could is trying to share with the world the legacy of another human being.

It made me think a lot about the way we view each other. How little we listen and take in. The way we walk through life without interacting. Rushing, always rushing.

Only connect…

Cancer has touched all of us, too many of us.

I gave away so many cards. Spread Alex’s work through the streets and canyons and beaches. I have so many stories to share. I have so much more to say. But for now, I leave you with this email I received from a stranger who came upon one of the cards:

I found this postcard about Alex in West Hollywood, California … my thoughts are with him.

Vee, from LA to NSW, we’ve shared the beauty Alex saw in the world. Thank you for sharing him with us.

On the boardwalk off of Ocean Avenue. By the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. On Third Street Promenade, the palm lined sidewalks of Doheny Drive, on San Vicente and Ventura Boulevards. Alex is here.

xo a.                    


17 thoughts on “alex was here – pt. one

  1. Heather

    Wow… that’s so awesome! I had goose bumps the entire time I read this post! I love that you stood out there and passed out flyers. I happen to live in Orange County, and have made my way down to the third street promenade a few times. I was thinking, “I’ve been reading Edenland for a short time now, what if I would have been where you were and rec’d one of those flyers, and then read her post today, and then read your post today. THIS IS A SMALL WORLD!!!!” Only I wasn’t there… so… I guess it doesn’t count. However, it is still a small world, and that was a great thing you did! I look up to you for that! Thank you!

  2. Cibele

    I am here via Eden;s blog. What a beautiful thing you did. You all are amazing, inspiring woman. I read Vee’s blog and even though I don’t comment much I have cried many tears with her. I wish Alex was still here, I really do!

  3. Rach aka stink-bomb

    you rock.

    it’s when people do things like you, Eden and Vee did that change the world – so we must keep doing them.

    do you have any of the cards left? if you do can you email me, i’d love for you to send me one all the way to the west coast of Oztralia.

    did i mention you rock?


  4. Vee

    Thank you thank you and thank you! What a truly beautiful thing you have done Alexandra, I can’t wait to hear of others that have found the cards. I LOVE the cards and love all your photographs of them, to think that his artwork is floating around on the other side of the world is just mind boggling, Alex would be totally blown away by it. Thank you so much my friend. xx

  5. Pingback: five great things someone else said, vol. 8 | alexandrawrote

  6. jjiraffe

    What a beautiful (in every way) thing to do. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story. You’ve shown that the world can be a wonderful place in the midst of such cruelty.

  7. Pingback: alex was here – pt. 2 | alexandrawrote

  8. Gail

    What a great idea! I’d love a postcard to take pictures of during my travels. You should make a PDF version available so that I could download and print it and then email you the photos of where Alex has been. Great idea!

  9. luna

    I just wanted to stop by from eden’s blog and tell you how awesome you are, if you didn’t know it already.
    it’s old news by now, but it’s still sitting with us all, and with those who continue to find alex’s cards and art, thanks to this incredible project.

  10. Penny: Sshh Mummys on the Phone

    I don’t know how to eloquently say I am crying tears of sorrow, hope and happiness all at the same time.
    I don’t know how to say I have goosebumps, tingling and hair standing on end.
    I DO know how to say you and all involved are truly giving and gifted.
    The world is a better place because of you.

  11. Pingback: you’ve got to have friends | alexandrawrote

  12. Pingback: #BlogHer12 | Alexandra Wrote

  13. Pingback: cancer, red balloons and beauty in the details | Alexandra Wrote

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s