The following excerpts of correspondence (emails) between Nort and Jort (alter-egos of artists Nora Beckman and Jules Gimbrone) date from the late winter and early spring of 1789/90 (2010/11) use new-world exploration as a metaphor for getting lost and found in love, in New York City. 

Dear Jort,

Though you're balding, pasty and paunched, you make an excellent (maddening, terrifying) lover. There are things that are beyond rationality; northern lights and sleigh rides, your earnest grin, electricity in a bathroom. I'm used to neatness, tidy emotions, a pot of tea and delicate cups. I'm afraid of letting go and winding up outside the structure I've built to survive in the city. What if your truths for yourself are conflicting?  What do you listen to?

Yours truly,
Norbert F. Humphrey

Dearest Nort,

Like the great beast of the arctic always says, "if you are cold, jump in a volcano." He was a wise beast, and very, very, hairy, but he was always well groomed. 
Truth can happen in many places simultaneously in your self. Eventually you have to pick one part to bet your shnoozeram on, and go forward. I have always been a sucker for adventure, and haven't also been the most rational of fellows. Take the time that I followed around that wild boar in Zameenia because I thought he was the reincarnation of deaf Aunt Sally. There went 7 years of my life up in smoke! 

But I digress, dear Nort, regardless of this current situation, you must deeply know that structures (even the most elaborate multi dimensional ones) are really nothing but an illusion, and though there may be some familiar comfort in them, they most frequently turn into personal jail cells. That reminds me of being mistook for a gladiator and ending up in a small dark cell with Henry....
To recap I would say the most interesting things in life are rarely rational, predictable or comprehendible by are very cunning minds. But, simultaneously, you must make peace with these different parts in order for you to feel well integrated into this world. A chakra handshake if you like. 

Jorten C. Cunningham. 


My good fellow, I rarely turn down an adventure if I can help it.  Remember when that scallywag sailor forced me to make good on a drunken boast, and next thing I knew I was scaling to dizzying heights in a schooner precariously riding 20 ft. swells? Remember when I set off for the new world only to stay forever?  Sometimes accidents dramatically turn the direction of your life, and 20 generations later you are re-incarnated and have to make the most of those hasty decisions. In fact, perhaps I fall into adventures rather than deliberately choosing them.

You say structures can trap us, and I only know too well what you mean. But the habit of breaking beyond can be it's own structure, its own pattern, potentially destructive.  In an ideal place, of course, such things would be common. But what about here? Perhaps I'm too caught to understand the fresh air for what it is, it only seems foreign and strange.

As is all of this. Yet familiar. Like I'm repeating myself.  Like we've already gone through this and our souls are impatient to just get on already. To just enjoy what is there and given. Then again, maybe these feelings are warning me of something else entirely.

All in all, dearest Jort, these rides and flights and treks have greater repercussions and ripples than one might think upon first observation.  Warranting, nay, demanding greater examination and thought.  As the great philosopher/humanist E.R. Kindholme once said "the first step a cat takes determines the fate of a thousand universes."  Likewise, volcanoes can erupt unexpectedly, casting chaos in every direction.

Likewise, a simple kiss planted innocently under a foot of snow, in a hostile Eskimo camp, can still manage to snag one's memory. Likewise, you can fell me with one glance.

Yours truly,
Nortella O. Tuspertine

Dearest Nort,

One day we will wake from a hazy, restless sleep
and find ourselves old, once again. 
Our bones, stiff white porcupine quills 
Still, and steady
We tuck in the corner of our linens
And allow for time to wash his hand over our forehead 
Like hot water 
One day this sleep will be clear, solid and ultimate
But until that day 
We move. 
And, yes, our stones cast ripples and rumbles, radiant circles
As they must. 
But there is nothing out there for us to set our sites on. 
No future humm, that sweeps the stick from the shore
For, this moment is too big 

Oh my, Nort I finding myself falling asleep in my dark arctic igloo. A jumbled poem of sorts, but I have long since stopped questioning these big callouses fingertips. I hope, you do understand that I do not want you to break anything, old pattern or not. You are completely splendid. 

Jortatilden k. Maddow 

Dear Jort,

I've just returned from a splendid journey to a region even further Northerly than the usual.  A strange wasteland of factories billowing smoke into the icy air beyond a marvelous bridge.  A giant’s land, where blocks were a fathom long.  Driving my master's sleigh back, precariously navigating jutting rocks and twisting passages, I was reminded of the time (it was so long ago!  Can you stretch your memory back?) When we went to the sea, and were reborn among the Old Russian men, glancing curiously out at two bright young things from under caps pulled low.  They fished us out of the sea, and we were clean and cold and new.  Can you remember that feeling of pure emptiness, of expectation and peace?

I know that all we can do is move forward, one wheel turn, one step at a time.  A map only helps until it doesn't.  At some point you have to realize that maps are drawn by men with certain ideas in their heads about where things are.  And really, we know better.  We know other dimensions they can't even begin to fathom.

Yours truly,
Nortley G. Thurnston

Dearest Nort,

Do you remember the time that we found the diamond map on the belly of that pig in Palomia?  We thought for sure we would be rich, and I carried the pig on my back, and rubbed his belly until he would lay on his back and show us his map. You insisted that we turn him into bacon, but I took a liking to Desmond, and decided to keep him. Thankfully I did, or else he wouldn't have smelt out the diamonds next to the truffle patch. 

I like maps that are part of a living breathing being. We know how places, whole known worlds, can up and move without any warning at all. 

I hope that you are keeping warm on your travels dearest Nort. And that grace protects you from having your heart snatched out by a hairy giant paw. I hated when that happened. 

But the memory of newness is so unexpected and wonderful Nort, that I hardly know if I can fathom how I forgot our slick wet bodies hitting the sun. Did the men know what we were or did we have to show them? Did we have to show each other?


Dearest Jortmaillian,

Can I call out to you in this pushing darkness, full of seething turning sounds? My heart beats a steady flip-flopping rhythm, but I am unsettled and full of yearning. Where is the beach? How close are you? Tell me of a future bright, calm and happy- of a sunlit kitchen, hot fresh tea, a purring cat, my hand on your thigh. I am here, left to my own devices, caught up in something I half believe in and partly detest, in the whirring clicking half-ness. Give me an image to smile at the end of it all, remind me there is room for our electricity to jump, body to body, souls chattering excitedly while we sleep, alternately clutching for the other and turning away. Remind me I've chosen to exist like this, but that there are other worlds to easily step into, or at least exist simultaneously in. Because even though I know all this, it's so easy to look with single-minded focus, eyes burning, into someone else’s vision and take it on as your own. But dear Jort, I am really an adventurer at heart, like you!

Are you still suspended, eternally falling somewhere nearby? I miss your warm body, your steadfast heart, your confusing teachings. I'm glad you know that the warm water just keeps flowing, turning into a river and a sea.

All my love,
Nortia R. Sluperous

Dearest Noarillian

Although I feel much wiped after hours of digging tunnels, building pockets of dirt, nests, with eggs, some with seeds, some with bundles of acorns, although my hands are sore and my back sagging, I felt I MUST write you back for it has been so longs since I heard the faint scratch of your quill, and am most delighted to hear your profound music.  Have I told you how in awe I am of you? How every word you write to me moves me, and lights up places in my heart and my head, and more than anything, helps me to know you better? So, with this torch, this glow of love, I write to you from underground.  Yes, I am underground now, many layers below the perma-frost, many layers below the ice and snow bellows.  After falling for what seemed to be centuries, I found myself falled.  Falled into a warm pocket of earth, that led me down into a small, but adequate tunnel.  This time, I seem to be moving horizontal, towards the sound and smell of the ocean.  It is a faint, lingering musk in these dark corridors, but I know that it is somewhere in front of me, sometimes I can lick my salty lips and think of the ocean, you, your warmth, and be overjoyed by my travels.  For, I have found work down here.  My job is to sort, create openings, hidings, little lost places for Lost Light Travelers to tuck their stories, their memories, lockets, whatever they wish to give up, as a marker to their small and beautiful lives. 

And that is what we do, just go forward, for we have no choice, so why not let it be an adventure!  For I know not what will behold me when I leave this darkness, but have heard sounds, smelled salt, and tasted you on my lips, and perhaps, we will find ourselves warm and vibrating on the shores once again.  Once again new.  For, do we really have any other choice?

My love and my stories,


Dearest Jort,

It's a new hard day, and I am steeled to the thin sunlight and sharp air. Mornings when you wake still worn down from the previous day make for mornings when you have to gird yourself against what is to come. The press and swells, people and darting eyes, posing and deflecting that await me down my long glassy hall of a day. It gladdened my heart to hear from you, that you are tunneling out from the fall, and helping people along the way. So like you, to find a way to bolster little lost travellers while you yourself are feeling your way forward in the dark as well.  Am I lost? Will you find a perfect warm feathered nest for some of my memories?

Because without that insulation, they might harden back into ice, then melt with the spring into the turn of the earth. And I want to savor and keep my memories, not let them dissipate. But then again, if we are to let go of our attachment to all things, can memories count as possessions?

Dear Jort, as this metal beast spits me out again, I fold and tuck the feeling of you into a secret pocket at my breast. I await the day we can be together again.

Much love,
Nortous E. Lingham


Dearest Nort,

A funny thing happened last night. I was wrapped in my walrus blanket, tucked in by the hissing embers, fast asleep, when all of a sudden I awoke and found myself wondering where you had gone and why you were not laying next to me. 


Dear Jort,

I'm a rag of a human now, dashing down to see you again. There's not much to say, other than my little heart is full and bursting for you. I'm sorry to say that you are wrong about me not needing anyone, for I find myself pulled again and again to the A train, to your neighborhood, to your door. I can't resist you. If there is a moment to spare, I want to spend it with you. There is not much point trying to resist, for the thought of your lips pressing mine is all the reason I need. We journey together and then apart, but are always sure we will unite again. Remember when you were lost? You were so filled with doubts about the truth of that statement. But here we are, still stumbling into each other’s arms. We are different, but fit together so snugly it’s sometimes hard to tell. Your contours clicking into place against mine. It is consuming, this feeling of connection, beyond rationality or sense. I have lost track of the shoulds and wants beyond the next time I can press into you. The love I'm in is such a new fresh sweet love, all its own thing. I can't wait for more.

A few moments,
Nortella M. Poalty

Dear John,
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Dear Nort and Jort,
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Dear Stonehenge,
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Love Lissa

Dear Gordon,
Love Emily