Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Love letters in time capsules and animals drawn by hand help illuminate the dusty, melancholic paintings that document the life of an ailing poet. In an effort to encourage us to explore and draw on the human experience, artist and archivist Laura Petersen has been traveling the country in search of writing that inspires her.
Petersen has released a book of love letters – ” I Only Sort of Hope He’s Happy .” As a solo traveler, Petersen holds an “element of vulnerability.” When she encounters anything special, it’s important to not only hold on, but pay attention.
Along the way, Petersen met and befriended a woman named Martha. An advocate for the lesbian community, Martha decided to send Petersen the love letters her mother wrote to her before her death.
A pioneer in the gay rights movement, Martha’s relationship with her mother, Katharine Errola Knight, was difficult. Martha describes it as “a constant struggle, emotionally as well as physically.” With all of the obstacles, love and adventure they experienced, Petersen decided to recognize this by capturing them all in her book.
“The average life span of an American, it’s not terribly different,” Petersen says. “There are more people over the age of 85 than there are 20-somethings. That there’s an opportunity for us to focus on beauty, on moments of love, that are going to last, is the reason why I did this.”
The intimate photographs that accompany the letters paint a strong and intimate portrait of Martha and her mother.
Read the full story on CNN.com