Letter to a Driftwood Fort Apprentice


Thank you for your warm and generous correspondence regrading my passion for building driftwood forts. It was most unexpected considering our mutual love of Rilke brought us together. Rilke clearly never built a driftwood fort. He seemed much more of a hang-out-in-the-garden type of man (although he did favor corduroy jackets).

You ask: why do you build? I respond; why not? Why not eradicate thoughts vandalizing your mind and make art and shelter at the ocean’s edge. It’s free. It’s a great workout as well.

No, the fort will not last forever. Forever is overrated. Starting over is underrated. Every time you build a fort you start over. Life is like that for those people who swim against the current and dodge jet boats ridden by lemmings. I suspect you are one of those swimmers. In fact, I am counting on it.

You ask if I consider myself an artist when I build forts. Yes I am! I never considered myself a visual artist of any kind until my fort-building passion took off several years ago for reasons I still can’t quite comprehend and thus have given up trying.

Now, 700 forts later, I am a master but this is of little consequence because no one who visits my gallery and encounters my creations knows the name of the artist. All creations are entirely anonymous and no two are ever the same. They can’t be. They never last and I find their evanescence beautiful.

I urge you to travel away from your buzzing megalopolis, to the Pacific Ocean, to the beaches on the Oregon Coast, the undisputed unofficial capital of driftwood fort building. We have our own flag and fort scout dogs. No government. We generally wear the attire of recycled clothes from dead people.

On these beaches, you will find the materials to inaugurate your fort-building life. It is quite possible that once you build a fort, you will become obsessed with the practice and unlock all sorts of metaphors that will convey you to new territories of creativity, spirituality and sensuality.

Again, thanks for writing.

Your faithful friend

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