bethofalltrades: (Default)
For those of you who think this is totally tl;dr, here are a few bullet points:

1.) If you sent me a key and then you moved, email me (beth hommel at gmail) your new address so I can send you a THING.

2.) Yes, I am still accepting keys. Probably when I am an old lady I will still be collecting keys. My house will be full of keys. I think I sealed my fate the night I got that first one tattooed on my arm.

3.) I am going to be updating Other People's Keys with photos of the keys I've gotten. Yay! Watch that space for yours.

4.) I love you.


So. I haven't updated this blog in ages, but let me tell you... there's so much to be said.
I cannot believe how many keys have come in the mail. Here's a stack of key letters I still need to photograph, respond to, and string:

key update

It's intimidating! But I'm going to get through them, because these keys and stories are too good not to be shared.

While I was on tour, people gave me keys not in envelopes. Not all of these have people or stories to go with them. Do you recognize your keys?

Orphan Keys

Other things worth talking about: YES, I am still accepting keys, even with the backlog, even with the threatening-to-take-over-my-life nature of this project. I love this. So much.

And other people seem to love it too. Here's some KEY ART that people have made for me (and there's more than I need to photograph and put her, including SHIRTS from Cynthia and Hayley and a beautiful painting by Lucy and another beautiful painting by Kayla and a beautiful pastel drawing by Lauren and probably 10 others I am forgetting.)

This is by the fucking awesome Sylvia K:

by Sylvia K

This poem is by the fantastic Hayley:
By Hayley

This song ("The One About Keys") is by the legendary Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. (I cannot wait to hear this in person):

And this ("Orphans") is by the incredibly talented and just plain incredible Kayla Oberlin (ditto):

I love that so much art--- for me and for others-- is coming out of this project. I love that so many of you are reaching out with your keys and stories, which are fucking amazing.

I love life.

I love keys.

I love you.

Love (obviously),
bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 01:44am on 08/01/2009 under , , ,
I have a whole story about how the girl in this video was the one who made me understand that "The Fans" is not a real, valid concept. There is no homogenized mass; there are only amazing, artistic, passionate individual human beings who love Amanda's music.

It was an important lesson. I was really glad she found me months after the story took place, because I got to tell it to her.

Now she paints ukuleles for Post-War Trade.

And she wrote me this beautiful song.

Her name is Kayla.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 08:15pm on 09/12/2008 under , ,
I had a dream recently... in the dream, I had a new tattoo.

The last time this happened, I got the tattoo three days later. Impulsively.

Before that dream, keys were interesting trinkets, random objects I held on to long after they served their purpose because I liked old things that had no use.

The dream created a tattoo. The tattoo created a project.

The project changed my life in more ways than I can count.


But this isn't about keys, it's about new tattoos.

I'd been contemplating my next one--- "Nemo perit." It means "No one dies." It's not immortality, it's the concept that if I fuck up, no one dies. I am not a brain surgeon. I remind myself of this fact on an almost daily basis.

But a few weeks ago (the night of the NYC show), I had a dream. And in this dream, I had a tattoo on my shoulder.

And so it shall be. I'm not sure WHEN, but it will happen. Because after what happened the last time, there's no telling what will happen next.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
I came home to wonderful things in my mailbox. Prints to send out to y'all (YAY!) A beautiful key story, probably the best one yet, from Amara. It made me cry.

And these:

Favorite new shirt courtesy MJ. Ridiculously awesome art courtesy of friend in the UK who declined to give their name.

I love it. So much. You can't tell from the photo, but it's different layers of cut material. There was a pencil drawing on transparent paper as well, that had layers that made up the whole. Fucking awesome. Am I totally narcissistic if I get it framed and hang it on my wall?

Okay, y'all. Thanks to MJ and our anonymous friend, I'm going to pay it forward.

Comments are screened. (I will unscreen anything that doesn't have personal information in it.) The first five people to comment with addresses get free 8x10 surprise art prints. The next fifteen get 5x7. Everybody else--and if 300 people comment, I'll a little screwed but totally stoked-- get 4x6s.

Here's the catch--- you have to give me someone else's address to send it to. So you're not asking for you. You're asking for someone else who'll then go to their mailbox and have random art waiting for them, and who will hopefully smile.

You can warn them, or not. I think not would probably be more fun. And, as always, if it's for your Nana I can make sure it's not a nudie, just tell me. Alternately, if your Nana would LOVE a nudie, tell me that too.

Why am I doing this when I'm six weeks behind in keys? Because the love's gotta spread somehow.

Hit me, darlings.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
This post is for Edgar Gonzalez Jr.

I recently came to the conclusion that I'm not the kind of girl anyone would write a song about.

Thank you for proving me wrong, Edgar. I think it's beautiful.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 11:33pm on 10/11/2008 under ,
Dear AFP concert-goers:

I will be at the first six shows (Nashville through New Haven) as the Merch Girl. Please come say hi, buy a t-shirt and awkwardly hit on me. Except that last part. Only hot chicks affiliated with Vermillion Lies are allowed to awkwardly hit on me.

I will also be attending the NYC, Philly, Boston and Pittsburgh shows. I will be pretty easy to spot. Come say hi.

If you want to give me keys in person, those would be good times to do it. I'll have a little jar at the merch table. Please please write your stories down with your address so I can send you things, because I can't guarantee I'll a) remember your stories and b) have something deep and meaningful to give you. Put story and address in envelope with key. Drop envelope off at merch table (first six shows) or find me (NYC - Pgh). Kisses for cute girls who do this. Maybe. ;)

TOUR!!!!!!! I'm so excited. Can you tell?

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:07pm on 08/11/2008 under , ,
When I got home to NYC, I had three magic things in my mailbox.

One was a wooden key the size of a serving tray.
One was a metal key the size of my pinky fingernail.

And one was something that will stay a secret between us, friend. But know that I got it and I opened it and I was very confused.

Then I realized what I was holding.

Then I wept.

Thank you.

Since I don't have your address, you'll have to share the piece of art I'm making for you with the world. I'll post it here. Watch this space.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 02:00pm on 05/10/2008 under
Psst. New keys.

The other day I got an email from Amanda. It said, Brits all over keep telling me they're sending you keys. Why do people keep sending you keys?

I explained. She liked it.

Getting caught up on the KEY BACKLOG is important to me this week. I have gotten sooooooooooo many wonderful keys in the mail. A new one came yesterday and it might be my favorite. Yes, Bellana, I do appreciate it.

Part of the problem I'm having is that I don't just want to mail you random things in return. So I keep going through the STUFF I have accumulated and figuring out what I am willing to part with. And then I can't just send it, I also have to send the story, so you understand that the blue bag from Tiffany's isn't just trash... it has a story and is special to me.

So. If you sent a key, your story and a photo will soon be posted on the blog and you will also soon get a gift in the mail from me.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 06:03pm on 29/09/2008 under ,
There is a new key post up. I am going to do these in random order. I have a LOT of catching up to do but I plan to get at least two more up tonight and several tomorrow and we'll go from there.

The keys have slowed to a mere trickle, making me realize how much of a light it brought into my life that I could go to the mailbox and have this connection with strangers. I am hoping as I send more THINGS out into the world to the people who've already brought me keys, I will get more in.

I am going to add a new twist.

Because of my job, some of you will meet me.

If you want to bring keys with you (with stories, please!) I will trade you something IN PERSON. No waiting for the mail. Just come up to me, hand me an envelope with a key in it and I will pull something from my bag or pocket and give it to you.

Two people brought keys for me to the Brooklyn gig Amanda did ten days ago. I was a little more than tipsy and when I got home and the keys fell out of my pocket I was thrilled... and a little baffled. (I figured out who gave them to me.)

Here's one, from Des:

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 12:22am on 24/08/2008 under
Eventually I'm going to shift all key-related blogging to Other People's Keys, but since that blog isn't exactly up and running at the moment, I share here.

These are the first keys I received, from Angeleena. She wrapped them in a torn out page from a book-- that she'd written.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 05:21am on 23/08/2008 under
So [ profile] tevriel set up a feed for Other People's Keys... for those of you who follow all things through LJ. It's here. This way you can follow the key blog without actually having to go to it!
bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 05:51pm on 22/08/2008 under
So, the keys have started to arrive.

I am... stunned.. at what I am getting in the mail. Not just the keys, but the STORIES of the keys. I love this. This is an amazing, unexpected light in my life.

We are making ART together. I didn't even know it.

(I am also sad, because apparently keys that are not wrapped in something do not go through the mail that well. A couple of letters arrived torn open with no keys. For those of you who haven't yet sent them, wrap the keys in several sheets of paper or just cover the ENTIRE envelope in clear packing tape. That will do the trick.)

I have decided to document the keys and stories I get in the mail on another key-specific blog, called Other People's Keys.

For those of you who have already sent me keys, particularly Angeleena from FL, Peter from FL, Mike from MI, Lindsey from VA, Amy from CA, and Grace from NC, please let me know if it's okay that I publish what you sent me on the blog (sans names). Otherwise I will just put up photos the keys!

I am assembling your packages of things tonight. Presents in the mail.

bethofalltrades: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 11:37pm on 12/08/2008 under
I have what I think is a fun game.

I have started collecting keys. They've been coming into my life in droves. I find them on the street and in the pockets of jackets I don't remember wearing.

I want more. I want to hang them from my ceiling with dental floss to create strange upside-down key forests. The wind will blow and they'll make music.

I'll be prepared to open any locked door I might encounter.

So I will make you a deal.

Send me a key to something. A stray you've had hanging about since you changed the locks or something old you found in your grandmother's jewelry box or the key to the Camaro your ex-boyfriend totaled three summers ago.

When I get your key, I will send something back to you. I'm not sure what it will be, but I will wander around my apartment and I will put things into envelopes and I will put stamps on the envelopes and mail them to you.

This will be fun.

Beth Hommel
266 Van Buren Street
Brooklyn, NY 11221

Yes, I just posted my address on the internet. When I was a kid, EVERYBODY'S address was in the telephone book.

I told Amanda I'd use my home address for a project we're working on that would involve TONS of fanmail coming to my house. She asked if I cared if I woke up to find kids with Dresden Dolls tattoos sitting on my steps.

I told her if they could survive the drive-bys, I'd invite them in for tea.




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