Two years ago this month, my mom messaged me on Facebook with the news that my late father, poet and playwright Al Pittman had been selected as an honoree of Project Bookmark Canada—the eleventh Canadian writer to be so honored. A ceramic plaque, printed with an excerpt of his poem, The Sea Breeze Lounge, would be permanently installed near its geographical setting, in Woody Point, Newfoundland.
The news was thrilling on two counts. First, that the plaque would be a visible affirmation of Dad’s literary legacy, his work memorialized as a physical landmark (one of thirteen Canadian writers to have been so honored so far, including his dear friend Michael Ondaatje). Second, HOW COOL is it that such a project exists anywhere in the world, with a mission to put “stories and poems in the exact, physical locations where literary scenes are set.”
Pretty damn cool.
The Al Pittman Bookmark was unveiled in August 2012, eleven years after my father died. I wasn’t able to be there, but I think you can tell from the photo what a happy day it was for our family:
(From l-r, my nephew and niece, my little sister, my moma, and Dad’s big sister. Oh, and Kanani, my American girl doll niece. )
But how much more important is what each Bookmark means to the person who happens upon it in its place. Like finding a window that opens upon a whole other dimension—the one written in words.
Project Bookmark Canada intends to create a cross-country network of hundreds of plaques, with your help and mine. I’m donating $20 to the project, and hoping many of you will do the same. Being part of something so wonderful is its own reward, but each person donating $20 today will be eligible to win a signed, hardcover copy of my book, Planting Dandelions.
Please consider a donation and do share the word about this great project. I’m hoping it spreads worldwide.