Ms. V. von Willendorf der Gravettian
I'm sorry to have assumed upon your origins in my last postcard. It's a peculiar failing, this assumption that where found, is where from. The idea that you were on a trading mission when you came across the oolitic limestone that you used to carve your gift to me had not penetrated my ideas about our past. The idea that you worked the stone while pregnant and walking, eyes to the ground, makes such resounding sense now that you've said it. In a time (for me and my current human kind) where mirrors at a distance generate the rulership of the eye, your sense of multi-focal tactile perspective has all but been lost, except, of course, in some of our more experimental painters and sculptors. You can refrain from further chastisement: I can hear you laughing despite our 25 or so thousand years distance. Yes. We have learnt a few new things and we are not as primitive as we might seem to you. I hold to this. It gives me hope.
Ms. L. Autstralopithecine
"The Wondrous One"
c/o National Museum of Ethiopia
Received your package. Sorry to say the contents were damaged during the 3.2 million year delivery. Also more than half of the bits have been delivered to the wrong address. Still, reconstruction on the remaining has been quite successful. You'll be interested to know that your skull has been put together again and stays some 450 km from your place of death, distance depending, of course, on how you get there. Speaking of which, I find it quite unsettling to be sending you these missives at this address. Perhaps, in your return postcard, you could send me an alternate? Your place of birth, for example, or the Museum where your skull lies reconstructed and hung with your remaining bones?
Mr. B. Spinoza
c/o Svalbard globale frøhvelv
Longyerbyen, øya Spitsbergen
Gentle Benedictus, I am glad you have found your work with seed so restorative, but what do you do in a "black box" site? I understand your personal lab on the mainland, but the sense I have at the frøhvelv, of apocalyptic expectation, wars with the roiling beauty of the archipelago. Do you still wander out to follow Rangifer taradus, or was that report for my benefit alone? I must admit that I do continue to play with the elastic that is our friendship. The wonder of your conception of the relative nature of morality, snaps against the absence of chance in your necessity. I am no abstainer from reason, but can't you see that compassion, yes even certainty, are feelings, and we only inhabit reason as one does a cottage in the summer? What good a set of rights ordered by the state if they are reasoned through the lens of a peculiar compassionate certainty without even the barest acknowledgment that their certainty is limited to their circumstance? What can any lens specific to any human being be but peculiar? We are all the fragrant breath of our time and place. Oh, but enough. Do not disturb your luncheon with this old disputation. I will see you at mid-summer next. We can talk more of necessity's definition.
Ms. Saartjie Baartman-Khoikhoi
South Arm of the Gamtoos River
Upper Gamtoos Valley,
I was glad to hear that you moved home after those disastrous decades in the Museum of Man. Yes, I know you laughed about it. Even George's flagrantly stupid remarks about your "appetites", could make no headway against your feet-to-ground refusal to countenance their "opinions". I know I've said this before Saartjie, but I am so glad we met in London. I've learnt much about my own "distinctions" (such a kind way of you to describe my madness!) by watching you. Those first steps you took coming down from the ship! Your startling beauty! You knew this, but I had to learn it. Thank you dear heart. Perhaps when I am again near your river home, we can return to our favourite game. This time, I'll imagine a world where you are what counts as normal, and you can imagine a world built for someone like me.