"I Choose My Own Way to Burn" Letterpress Art Piece/Postcard
During WWII, the White Rose Collective hoped to educate Germans by publishing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. Three members of the collective - Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and Christopher Probst - were arrested and executed a few days later on February 22nd, 1943. Sophie was just 21 years old. The work of the White Rose is particularly relevant during the current rise of Trump and the alt-right.
The full quote:
“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.”
Wolverine Press is the letterpress studio of the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan, housed by the University Library. Wolverine Press seeks to communicate printing and publishing history, and especially Great Lakes Regional history, through craft practices. Its goal is to situate students and faculty of the Helen Zell Writers' Program, and the university more broadly, in that historic tradition, and to remind them through practice that the labor of publishing is physical as well as intellectual.