On the twenty-third floor I go to the windows to learn about the pedestrians of Milwaukee.
A man is just off work from a job where they blast air conditioning, see his long sleeves? This man is free now but carries the burden of his day and his backpack as he wonders what lies underneath the manhole cover.
A car pulling into a parking garage politely avoids the fellow carrying a big soda. Mr. Big Soda knows that though this particular car is polite, other cars might not be, so he must not sip his soda (no matter how massive it is!) until he is safely past the driveway entrance.
Three friends all wearing plaid, blue jeans and backpacks. Very close friends. They also all appear to be very close in height and age.
Jogging man imagines he is Hermes with winged ankles, running through the Grecian skies with a news report for Zeus.
Woman just making sure the whole present is still in there. It would be terrible if she had forgotten part of it on the store counter when she bought all those rolls of tape.
He walks and texts, ignoring the sea of cement all around him.
A man jaywalks as bold and sure as the stripes on his shirt.
She walks so quickly she is almost out of the frame by the time my camera clicks.
10. This woman has a water bottle that is so beautiful (of amber hue, with flower motif) that she carries it facing the hotel in the hope that the Pfister narrator will see it and extol its marvelous grace. Oh! And how I gasp!
11. He thinks he can hide behind the “No Parking” sign, but he doesn’t know we can see his reflection in the window. Heh heh heh.
12. These two people don’t know each other, lead different lives and even walk in opposite directions in this realm, but in the land of the shadows they face the same way.
13. This guy has style.
14. This guy has an itch above his right ear.
15. I see so many people rolling luggage, carrying backpacks and bags downtown it appears as though there is a great migration taking place.
16. He doesn’t stop though he does consider the parking meter’s stasis.
17. Man clambers upon the motorcycle for a few thrilling moments and then gets off again. Its not his motorcycle.
18. Stylish bow tie fellow locks gaze with another man, as if to say, “You stay in the street. This curb belongs to me.”
19. Nice shoes, sir.
20. This guy knows that contrary to what the sign says, there is more than one way.
21. There goes number 21 and her green cell phone. It is amazing that I can see that she has a green phone all the way from the 23rd floor.
22. Woman has animated conversation with parked vehicle.
23. Everyone on this corner seems eager to leave it.
24. This man takes wide strides as he walks.
25. Four people stop in the lot to pet this car. Good car, good.
Anja is pronounced (ON-JUH) and 'Notanja' (not-ON-JUH). Anja is the person-conduit and Notanja is the spirit writing the letters. Both currently hang out in the Pfister Hotel and would like to meet you.
"I am a performing typist who interprets other people's thoughts in the form of “prosettes.” Prosettes (poetry-letter hybrids) are typed for the customer on-the-spot, usually on a typewriter. For me the typewriter offers the pre-computer era tradition of translating ideas into clacking physicality. Customers can choose from the following options: Poetry, Love Letter, Insult Letter, Letter of Recommendation, Short Story, Letter from a Pet, Other. Writing letters requires me to pretend for the duration of the composition that I am the client.”
A writer, actor, director and raconteur, West has written for various arts and architecture publications, been a commentator for WUWMs Lake Effect, and shares his opinions and insights on culture and the art of everyday life on his blog Artsy Schmartsy. He served as Head Writer for Wisconsin Public Radios Hotel Milwaukee, and his book Milwaukees Live Theater was published in 2009 by Arcadia Publishing as part of their Images of America Series. He most recently served as Director of Communications for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. West has been an active theatre professional for more than 20 years.
Along with his wife, opera director Paula Suozzi, and two daughters, Dorothea and Carmela, West lives in a cozy bungalow in Bay View, which he refers to as “the finest neighborhood in the world for beer gardens in lush parks, coffee joints, barbershops, record stores and pizzerias.” He can be identified by his signature bow tie.