[ kwid-nuhngk ] noun: a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

6" x 6"

140# hot-press watercolor paper

acrylic paint, collage

Quidnunc called for blackout poetry, because it’s a word about words.

Blackout poetry is when you a form a poem from a random article by blocking out everything but certain words. Austin Kleon (an artist and author) is a master of this technique.

I flipped through a bunch of word-heavy collage pages I had until I found one that seemed right. This particular clipping was from a paper mill extolling the beauties of print in an attempt to sell more paper. Because they used emotionally charged language (it is advertising), the poem practically wrote itself.

emotional experience
helps explain why
a piece can cut straight through
to deliver a message
that has staying power
humans feel.
it’s no wonder
preferred people

Gossip is a common human experience. All of us have partaken in it (only listening is still participating). But there’s a difference between an occasional comment, and someone who lives to discover and spread information about other people, regardless of the harm it can cause. Gossip can result in a shared narrative about a person’s worthiness or capabilities. It has the potential to be internalized by that person long afterward. The upper half of the painting represents the cloud of negative beliefs and cutting remarks.

The eye is a reminder that people see. Words are guarded around gossips. You might be friends with one. You might even participate in their gossip. But you know if they talk about other people, they talk about you when you’re gone. We instinctively understand this (or learn the hard way). So by “preferred people” I meant that people you prefer are those who have learned that words hurt. These are the friends who respect your relationship. Who guard what they say, who earn your trust. The gossip might still have friends, but it’s a different kind of relationship.

Don’t be a quidnunc.

Quidnunc mixed media word painting by Sarah M. Schumacher