But first, a note from Caroline Byrne explaining her side of things.

In early 2009, Nancy Dwyer contacted me about a possible project. She wanted to work with styrofoam packaging material, and the pieces she showed me were mostly strange rectangular shapes, the negative spaces left over from computer equipment.  Nancy was interested in my fiber and textile sensibilities, and thought I could add something to her project. She wanted to write up a proposal for the Human = Landscape exhibition at Burlington City Arts. Possibly we would make furniture. Nancy was into furniture.

This sounded fun enough? but what if I couldn't deliver? Then....

2 hours later, while on a walk in the woods, a rolled up piece of paper-like material fell from the sky and landed on my head. It contained the first of several letters from Anla, a 12 year old girl living on a boat in Lake Champlain.

The letters were dated 2248.

I was:

A. Completely blown away that someone from the future was actually contacting me.

I was familiar with wormholes of course, and being a fiber expert, I could see that all fabric, including the space-time fabric we live in, was susceptible to rips and tears. But it was still shocking.

B. Impressed that Nancy had been “feeling” the future. The Styrofoam blocks (or simply “Shapes” as they call them in the future) are indeed highly aesthetic objects to the people of 2248.  AND they were primarily used in furniture.

And C. Confident that we had something substantial for the BCA show.

She wrote many letters (and continues to write them), and I managed to communicate with her a bit. In exchange for her help recreating her family's home furnishings, I offered to publish her letters in our time, in a blog.  I put the letters in reverse order so the furniture would be near the top. You will have to scroll to the very bottom to see Anla's first letters. She seemed very excited (assuming exclamation points will still have the same meaning that they do now). I’m omitting her detailed instructions for each piece because they are overly long and tedious. I am including everything else. I hope you enjoy the future as much as I did.

Sincerely, Caroline Byrne

PS. I am throwing in a plug for my artwork while I am here http://carolinebyrne.com

The Shapes

The people from your time are most famous for the glowing white fragile objects that you left behind. We call them Shapes, but you probably had a different name for them. Unhappily, much of what your people left us is toxic. The Shapes are beautiful though, even if they are a little toxic.

In our time, nobody knows for sure how the Shapes originated. Religion historians believe that the spiritual meaning of the Shapes must be part of a lost oral history because they are not written about in any of your books or catalogs. They also believe that you sacrificed them to your gods, which explains perfectly why most of them are all broken up in garbage dumps.

 The art historians believe that the Shapes were made simply to be so incredibly inspirational and beautiful.  Some design historians believe that the Shapes were architectural plans for buildings of the future- or the past rather, because they resemble so many of your buildings, including the buildings from your underwater lost metropolis of Miami, Florida.  My technology and society teacher said this is simply not true because it does not explain the vast quantity of Shapes that were created and the almost identicalness of many of them. I wish I didn't have to study for my exam tomorrow!

The biggest mystery obviously, is why so many of the Shapes are found on this country, thousands of miles from the Asia Collective Provinces, where we believe they originated.

Our Furniture

All of the furniture on my boat is made from antique Shapes that are in very good condition. We cover them up in completely genuine paper to make them less fragile and less toxic. Then we coat them with a resin from a special tree, which we have to import from the land of course, to protect them from the water. Things get wet sometimes, when you live on a boat in the lake.

The furniture does get dirty, because it is so white. To remedy this, we sprinkle the chairs with sea water and place them outside on nights when there is a full moon. This has a whitening effect. Annoying yes, but it is wonderful to look out over the water and see all the furniture sparkling in the moonlight.

The crafts on it are very typical of this time period, but I think ours must be extra nice. We have several good crafts people in our family. Our most common material is a woven fabric that is a side product from the process that the land people make algae energy with. We call it Algine. We use algae for everything here. We also use Sheep’s wool which is expensive but special, and sometimes bits of antique plastics.

The chair my extremely old grandmother likes

My grandmother is very old, 97 years old, and is getting strange in the head, which makes me giggle, but it bothers my dad. She also has bad circulation. She had fancy pillows made for her chair out of special foam. These pillows are supposed to increase the circulation in her legs but my dad isn't so sure. We had to buy the foam from The Land of course, and my dad was very upset about how much the foam costed. He decided to trade 20 pounds of algae and 8 pounds of the best quality fish for it, instead of using dollars.

If you look above the fancy pillows, you will see the pockets of air from your time. When I was seven, I accidentally popped one of the three preserved air pockets on this chair.

The chair with the net

We have a tradition here, on the sea, where fresh young couples create a gift for a couple that has been together for a long time. Nets, like the ones we fish with, are popular gifts because they represent the act of “catching” a love. I know, it is dumb. But I imagine you also had dumb traditions.

Coming back to the story, My wild Aunt, and her fiancĂ© Meliya, went to The Great Island of Arachne, to collect the silk that my aunt would then make into yarn to create a beautiful Net for my parents, who had been married several years. The spiders on this island produce the most amazing silk. It is so beautiful that it is similar to what your plastics looked like. Unhappily, wrestling silk away from spiders is no easy task. And one woman’s romantic adventure is another woman’s horrible nightmare. After the many hours of back killing labor, land sickness, and too many spider bites to count, Meliya was very furious at my aunt. They almost quit their relations. Now it is several years later, and we still hide the Net when they come over to avoid feelings.

I love this net but it makes me miss my mom.

Finally, Caroline Byrne wanted me to tell you that her Net (the one shown here) is actually made from hand spun Saran Wrap. This means nothing to me, but maybe you will find it interesting. She seemed proud of herself.

The chair my grandfather used to sit in before he died of heart failure

The woven trophy over the top of this chair is an antique from about 2140. It was my grand fathers father’s trophy. My dad told me the trophy was a medal that his grand father received after rescuing several people during The Devastating Quake (the time when Californiya suddenly and without warning decided to separate itself from the continent). He was, unhappily, living in Californiya at that time. My Grandma said this was “crazy talk” because the infrastructure had better things to do at that time than craft fancy trophys. She said that my grand father's father was in reality a "disreputable character" and that he probably stole it. I wish I could have met him!

My grandfather used to sit in this chair.

I think Nancy Dwyer did an excellent job creating our chairs! They are actually better than ours (I am so glad my family isn't reading this) because your shapes are in such perfectly symmetrical condition. Maybe there are some very wealthy Land people here who have such perfect shapes, but I don't know them.

Look at the chairs! The show at Burlington City Arts

but why isn't my name up there with Nancy and Caroline?

It is Holiday time!

The Shapinflate is our symbol for the Holiday celebration. It is so beautiful when all the Shapinflates are out. It looks like winter without the cold part. We have a good Shapinflate. My uncle Wilyalm is good at sewing.

The Shapinflate in these pictures was made by Nancy Dwyer and Caroline Byrne. Sometimes shapinflates are wider, or shorter, or smaller, or taller, or narrower, but this is a typical shape.  Their sewing and pattern making is very good considering the fact that people from your time were mostly extremely bad crafts people and made things that fell apart almost instantaneously.

Holiday is not a religious celebration. People have so many different religions it would not be possible for everyone to celebrate them all. I would happily have no school and no algae harvesting though! This festive time is about both remembering the past and planning for the future. The adults have lots of important meetings but also parties and us kids can relax and not go to school and eat special Land cookies and cakes.

Good News!

I just found out that a Caroline Byrne from Winoosk, Vermont-New Englandia has been receiving my letters! She wants to help me publish them!, but mostly Caroline and Nancy Dwyer want to recreate the furniture from my boat for an art exhibition they are working on!!

I can't believe my letters made it all the way to the past!!! I know i should tell my friends, and the physics-ist at my school... but I also want it to be A BIG SPECIAL SECRET.



Our Summer Party

I’m a little frustrated with my friend Jeny. Her Intercal hasn’t been working for weeks! I mean, It is not a really bad situation because she likes being old fashioned and can remember important things like birthdays naturally. But there are little things she forgets. For example, We had our annual Summer party over the weekend and she forgot to go! When I realized she wasn’t coming I tried communicating with her. But it was too late because her family had gone over to her cousin's boat to admire their new antique Shape- when i say new I mean new to her and simultaneously of your time.

I guess, thinking positively, there was more food for us! My dad cooked delicious Land food. There was no algae or fish in sight.  Ever since my mom died my dad tries really hard to make our celebrations special and impressive but it just makes me feel weird.

Jeny hates going to the doctor. She knows getting her Unit fixed is an extremely minor surgery but she is really squeamish. It is really nothing like going to the dentist which can be beyond horrible.

Unhappily, My dad is like that too. One time his Intercal didn’t work for five months. AND, at that same time, my mom was totally involved with her very important research on the 8th and 9th dimensions. They both forgot their anniversary! I miss my mom so much.

My Summer Season

I am sorry it took very long for me to write. It is the summer season, so I don’t think about writing to you often. But I wanted to tell you what my life is like during the summer season, because you might find it interesting. I hope you get these messages. The physics-ist here say there is only 1 in a 140,000 chance that you are getting my messages, which is why the other kids don’t actually send them. I feel this contact is super important, which is why I am trying, when I could be having more fun.

Summer Season means  NO SCHOOL which is exciting. Even though we work hard all year, there is much more time for fun in the summer. Instead of school, from May to September we apprentice for the adults. At school, we sign up for the things we want to do in the order that we want to do them. The biggest sectors are Harvesting Food and Energy, Building and Repair, and Computers and Technology. Most of us work for five hours in the morning, four days of the week, and then in the afternoons and evenings there is lots of free time. I always do Harvesting Food and Energy. Today, we harvested algae. We eat lots of algae and sell the rest to The Land. They convert the algae to make Algine fabrics and fuel. Even though we are working, we can laugh and have fun, and listen to the sounds coming from the real music and radio boat which is always close by. I feel very far away from school in the summer. The adults also like the summer because we do some of their work for them. By the end of the season, many of the oldest workers take long vacations, and it is exciting to take over. The older kids are able to pick more specialized sectors like Healing, Teaching Arts to small children, and Transportation.

We also have readings for school that we are supposed to read over the summer, but most kids don't really do it. I have readings in Cosmology, 20th CenturyArt and Design history, and 22nd Century Literature. I should start my readings but I would rather write you than start my boring readings.

There are many days in the summer we don’t have to work because the weather is really bad, today there is bad wind and rain. This is one of the best things about working in the Harvesting Food and Energy sector.

Dear People From the Past

Dear people from the past (2009),
Ms. Ryler said we could write anything we wanted, but try not to put in anything dumb or mean. She said that we should be trying to make a good example. Your alphabet is slightly different than mine. After I write this, I will put it in the Language Converter, so that you will be able to read it easily. That was the only instruction, and she said she will not be reading this!!! So I can say whatever I like.
I thought I would talk about my regular and normal life, So you will know what regular and normal life is for a 12 year old girl in 2248.


My family
Cake-yellow and orange, but never red and purple
Swimming- on my back
Ms. Ryler
Geometry- that is my favorite but I like other maths
Listening to music
Celebrating Holiday
Free Time

Getting up very early in the morning
Stupid People
Cleaning My Room
Taking the refuse to the refuse boat
Swimming- on my front
Mr. Johnston
Human History
Wind- except when it is very hot
Getting wet unexpectedly
Eating Algae

I’m sorry, that was so boring!! Maybe it would be smarter and also more interesting to not put everything in a list. First, the main thing, I am a Sea Person instead of a Land Person. I am still part of the American Union, but the borders are not very defined out here. Sometimes we go to Canadia when it is very hot in the summer, and South when it is very cold in the winter. I like Canadia but I miss my friends when we go away. In 2245 we moved from Atlantic to Lake Champlayn so it is much harder to go South.

I went to the Land once, when I was 8, and my dad says I went before that but I don’t remember. We are going to the Land soon and I am very excited. I am excited mostly about ice cream (I ate it once and got very sick but it was wonderful. We don’t produce cow products nearly as much as in your time because the animals are so terrible for ecology but we do get small allowances. My mom would sometimes order butter from the land and have it delivered. She was very sophisticated.), and Pizza which I have never tried. I also am happy about the acrylic paint we are going to buy. Unhappily, all Plastics have been illegal here for a long time, after the Abort Plastic act of 2130, but my dad knows a man from an art store on land who will sell the paint to people who ask for it and are willing to pay a lot of money. I’m very glad Ms. Ryler is not reading this.

They drive scary cars instead of boats on the Land. The Land is completely different in every way but the thing I remember most is the wonderful looking trees and the strange people who looked almost like shrunken trees, the way they stood absolutely still, without swaying slightly the way that the sea people do. Overall, Land people have larger economic distances between them than we do. This leads to more “drama” as my dad calls it, which seems exciting, but there has been a lot of scientific research to prove that they are less happy than we are. They also talk funny. I hope this is not offending you, I just thought I should tell you how a normal and sensible sea girl honestly feels about land people, and also tell you there is real research behind me.

Maybe you want to know about my family? My dad is very nice, but he has his moods, especially since my mom died. Cosmology had always been satisfying for him until my mom died, after that, he became very interested in religion, almost obsessed. Sometimes it is Buddhism (when he is very sad), and then it is Celtic mysticism (when he is a little happier). It has been weird for me to see this part of my dad, but I know I should be happy it makes him feel better. For money, my dad fixes water/waste conversion units. I know it sounds unpleasant, but I think he actually likes it. He works 25-30 hours a week, and has 35 days of vacation in a year, which is normal here, but less work-time than most people had to do in your time. He does help out though with Algae harvesting. Almost everyone does.

My mother died on July 7th, 2244. Not long after we moved from Atlantic to Lake Champlain. It is still hard for me to write about, but I think you should know about her because she was (and of course I mean will be) an amazing person.

Things we value now before I forget: Honesty (this gets complicated when we are trying to protect a friend’s happiness), Quality, Creativity, Skills, Working Well With Others, Alonetime, Lightheartedness, and The Elders.

My mom was famous. Not in the way maybe that Picasso or Aretha Franklin is famous, but she was well known in some groups. She was a physics-ist at the university and did valuable research on the 8th and 9th dimensions. She was also a very glamourous woman, who had a deep exciting laugh, and gorgeous hair. She always wore sleek black clothing, even to swim in. People always told her that this was dumb, as she would be mistaken for a seal and eaten by a shark. This is exactly what happened to her in the end. I like to think about what she would say about the people that warned her. She would always say to me “I would rather take chances, and do what I want with this precious life, than listen to boring advice from boring people”.

My grandmother lives with us. She is my dad’s mother, and is getting old. She is 97. And she is not completely right in her head and sometimes says very strange things. I think it is very funny but I try not to laugh too much because it makes my dad upset. Sometimes I feel like he would be happier if he could laugh more over things, the way my mom did. My other Grandparents are all dead.

What else? Maybe you want to know what my school classes are like? I like Maths and Reading/Writing. Human history and science history are much harder for me because it is hard for me to remember stories. I get bored! Astronomy was so boring I went to sleep in class and Mr. Johnston got mad at me. The kids thought it was funny. I am hoping I will like cosmology more. We Sea People all enjoy swimming for our exercise. I like swimming on my back but not on my front. When It is very cold we jog without moving forward, or we jump over ropes. My favorite subject is painting, we painted waves all last section, and for the next section we will be painting clouds. I am looking forward to painting boats and people but I will not start learning about this until my 3rd section in the upper school. People are the hardest thing to paint, that is what my art teacher says.

I don’t know what else to say! I hope this hasn’t been very boring for you, and I hope that the Language Converter worked and you can understand most of what I am saying. I tried to use the correct words before it even went into the converter.  Mostly (I have gotten bad marks in human history but I understand basic ideas subtracting the small facts), things will get worse for you as you head into The Warming. We are still living in the middle of this today but we are able to adapt well- especially the sea people who are both more mobile and (I think) more intelligent. I feel like I shouldn’t end this being so dark and negative, but I’m not sure what else to write.

Have a beautiful Day,