Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thank You

"Eyes of Love," Paris storefront, June 2013
For my writing students.

 “Writing is constantly letting letters arrange into different combinations and meanings.”
-       a student from this last seven-week session

Thank you
for showing up
for speaking out
for putting up with struggle
for laughing when you can
for giving critic space before giving it the boot
for your sincere joy and curiosity
for witnessing words and their energy
for being game to go as far as you can at any given time
for your commitment to the unknown.

Sometimes total strangers trump intimacy in terms of safety and secrecy.

Sometimes metaphor carries deep feeling miles further than it can by itself.

Sometimes when breath hits the bottom of lungs, of diaphragm, something cracks and opens knowing that is otherwise unspoken
there in those spaces we pull out
the shovels
the maps
the compasses
and we curiosity our way through our minds’ landscapes
our hearts’ fire escapes
our instincts’ innate flow
our potential fates’ uneven knowing

Sometimes in the middle of the most ordinary-seeming statements, something clicks into place that’s been edging in that direction, letter by letter, syllable by syllable, for decades.

It’s in those moments
and the gaps in-between
that we practice
this writing.

Sacred and mundane
deep and cheap
real and fantastical
understood and undermined
woven and separate.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Chez moi, ou non pas? (My home, or not?)

"Please don't park here - car exit" Paris, 2012

I remember when I was eleven or so, I went on a trip with my brothers to Ohio, for a family friend's wedding. Staying in her apartment, one of a large building that encircled an active courtyard, I recorded the sounds that were so unusual - normal to someone but not to me - and enjoyed listening to them again and again. I wasn't bothered by being "kept awake" - I was curious about this place where even the pace of speech differed.

I could hear people's conversations, something I didn't often overhear in my quiet, "a suburb not attached to a larger city" town of upbringing. I heard basketball and sirens, yelling and people running around. It was what made me most aware I was elsewhere.

So, when I woke from a nap this afternoon in the lovely, light and open fifth story bedroom of my host's place in Paris, I had a similar curiosity. For a moment, I thought I was at home:
I heard skateboards outside, cars shuffling around one another, a cat on my left, cuddled up close.
It could have been home: comfortable, clean, cozy.
Only, it's not.