Where I’m Calling From…

WHERE I'M CALLING FROM©2012 Felice PanagrossoMixed Media on Phone Book Page10.5 x 6.5 inches
©2012 Felice Panagrosso
Mixed Media on Phone Book Page
10.5 x 6.5 inches

Doodling on a page from an obsolete Saint Germain-en-Laye phone book (I keep wanting to say Facebook). It’s obsolete for two reasons. First it was last year’s phone book. Second, who uses phone books nowadays anyway?

I wonder about the connection between these particular people on this particular page. They all live in the same town. Their names all begin with the same letter – M.  I myself am somewhere in this book but not on this page.

I’ve re-organized the relationships between these names by sketching, then painting skyscrapers/apartment buildings around them. Now at least they are grouped in the same neighborhood, each on a different floor.  But in reality I realize they are probably not connected to each other at all.  I also realize that some of these people have probably left town and don’t belong in the book at all.  Like me.

In Raymond Carver’s short story, “Where I’m Calling From” the narrator struggles with feelings of social alienation, and wanting to escape his own identity.  We actually never even learn his name.


8 thoughts on “Where I’m Calling From…”

  1. Hi Phil,
    Cool! I really appreciated your explanation.
    By the way, I do, on rare occasions, still use the yellow pages – it has those maps, and helpful groupings like dentists, etc.
    You could do another drawing on a yellow page!
    Whenever I see your work, it makes me feel like getting creative. I’d better get moving – time’s a- wastin!
    I hope all is well-

    • Hi Kate,

      How are you? Happy New Year!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the painting. Yellow pages are a great idea. I’ll have to wait until my next phone book is delivered. I think we still get them here in Paris.

      Speaking of creativity, are you working on a play these days? We’d love to see it.


  2. This was very creative and made me think of dreaming – how we can look at something ordinary and let our minds transform it into something else. It connected me directly with the sort of mood I remember whilst a boy at school, far away from the lesson in my mind, probably hiding under my desk or staring to one side, out of the window. I suspect now that I am older, that although it would have benefited me to learn how to do my sums etc., those imaginative moments were probably more important and even perhaps more useful to me in later life.

    • Hello Keith,

      Happy New Year! Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this. I agree that the connections our minds make going from one (sometimes nonsensical) thing to another, documented by words and pictures, are a great source for the creative process.

      You and I were probably in the same classroom. I sat near the radiator. The heat rising from it would put me in a dream state.


  3. Love that sketch, Phil! So loose and free. And love the serendipitous and intentional meaning behind it. For me, the phone book was the precursor to the internet–so much information and connection contained therein. Not only was it a useful tool in many ways, I could look up someone I was curious about and when I saw the name and maybe address printed there my imagination got to work. Much more charming than stalking on the web and learning more than you want to know. But alas, it’s true, it has gone by the wayside. Maybe there will be a reincarnation.


    • Dear Marylou,

      Thank you for your message and for enjoying the sketch. I think the looseness & freedom come from the state of mind while doodling – no expectations.

      I would peruse the phone book as you did, gathering what information I could and imagining the rest. It’s funny that if you didn’t grow up with a certain technology, then you may know what it was, and the function it served, but you don’t possess all the layers of meaning and feeling that you would having lived with it.

      I suppose every generation acquires it’s own memories and meanings.


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