Tuesday, July 31, 2007
tagged this from a commencement speech by marian wright edelman founder of The Children's Defense fund
who is also an alumna of spelman college in atlanta where i spent my first year
reading.. reading.. i've been reading
Thursday, July 26, 2007
particularly with writing as I can see it.. as i can see it.
My head's just the teeniest bit achey, only like you needa lay your head down in a quiet room
in some nice covers.. that tyoe thing.. overstimulation..
though I'm listening to some of that Sufjan Stevens. Honestly I don't usually know what I'm going to say here.. and if i start out with a plan sometimes,, some word or phrase I think sounds nice, sometimes you just have to abandon it. I said on a post i deleted, that a person has different voices they use at different times. It is so, I believe, with this and many other things.
I usually run off feelings you know. The day before yesterday I was riding through Mississippi all involved in the life you know. Peeked into a cornfield, but also kind of ensconced in thinking about this young man in Memphis who passed away, though I never met him personally.
Kind of ensconced in .. a kind of feeling like.. man.. like live.. like live boldly.. like live deeply and truly as honestly and honest to the self as possible. Be most present in this reality in your living, as you possibly can. Sit deep and wide in yourself. Hold on.
..child.. and all those inbetween inbetwixt places..
I wrote some stuff on the way back from Mississippi.. those fields.. that highway ..thats the path of my life.. i been riding up and down that highway since the beginning of this life I know. And those fields, corn, cotton, .. i have never picked but I have seen.. i have seen the wash of green rows and dry dirt sweeping past you with the flicking frame of an old movie. as you go speeding by .. home away from home. place
I think I get called to places. You know maybe we all do. I won't ostracize myself. I won't say I'm the only. one. And I won't fear.
And sometimes you get taken over until a feeling leaves you.
I'm not sure if I should stay quiet here. And sometimes you are wracked. Say it say it.
Sometimes the words must be spoken.
I wonder if people remember you when you are gone. I think they do.. it is in their bones.. your imprint.. the space you have washed upon their lives, be it sand, wind, or stone. stones across stone, the white of bone.
I think it is so.. and with the death of a young person.. with the death of a young person..
where are they.. where do they go.. they reside everywhere..
and who remembers you.. its interesting you know..
and can we claim each other through death? can we claim each other and still know that we hold on tight. we hold on tight.
i had a cousin once, or i have a cousin who i barely remember.. he passed a way when i was quite young and when i think back all i have is a vague vague memory.. like a picture but like feathered over, the memory of a face i see in others i love now.
and he passed away strangely not unlike this young man that passed away.. when speaking about it with my mother.. you have to say things.. you have to say it.. or the remembrances will pass away.. the stories will pass away into..they will still be there with you.. but
i had been thinking about it all day long. and wondering why it would not leave me, the feeling of this person I had never met.. i mean i didn't know..
this young manwas, had been a freshman at morehouse college in atlanta.. he passed away in a car crash this past weekend..
and then while discussing this my mother later that evening, she told me about my cousin who passed away almost some twenty years ago in a crash too.. i knew he'd passed away in a crash, but he too had been a freshman at morehouse in atlanta, which i didn't know.
i need to go to sleep, but as people who are called to carry the stories, folklorists, writers, singers, sculptors, historians. and all the real time takes off of that- umm graphic artists.. photographers, cinematographers, mixed media artists . be they the stories of our lives or the stories of our dreams.. not like there is a huge difference between the two at a base level..
as .. that.. as them.. as us.. man .. the stories will find.. they'll be seeking you even when you don't know why and you'll be seeking them even when you can't even call a word to name it.
So in the name of Memory and Rememory and all the things we cannot say with the words to speak always
but have a feeling, to carve out with hearts waiting on an open air,
I carve these names
Garnett Lee Henning
David Boyd Jr.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Nevertheless here I am listening to a rendition of "I Like the Sunrise" by amel larrieux and i halfway don't know what to say, but i shall continue.. there are a number of things i could say.. that have been stalking the brain or at least i felt would be good to expound upon somethings
one being why i am really doing this. perhaps rather i should list what i would like to talk about in the hopes that i will sometimes somewhat soon get to them.
1. why i am really doing all of this. this includes what it means to me as a person this project, this parcel of a life path, this journey, this awakening, this storytelling of the storytellings that have been told and those that are yet coming into being through our dreams and our minds. we focus them i believe into existence. and what if we could think about the whole world currently and forever focusing ourselves into existence. every single second all of us makes a decision. the world is .. or the world that is or that will be.. like now.. and now again is perpetually being born and shifted. i was thinking about that on the freeway the other day.. i mean you look out over them and it looks like there are all these cars and trucks right and they're all driving speeding along like they know where they're going and that might be how it looks like day after day and you think that's what life is... cars moving and other people's cars moving and that's just what it is.. but its not .. i don't think
2. what i think will happen with myself this september
3. the feeling i have for stories.. do you think the world is a story.. stories that have been told.. stories that never will be told.. stories that have fallen back into.. like you know something else i was thinking about was i watching a movie and there were some roman soldiers or something.. no I was watching that night at the museum movie and there were some spartans and i realized they sounded british, but then i was thinking
ya know.. maybe there is no way to really know what spartans sounded like.. i mean their real accents.. there is no way to know that thing.. who can remember.. and that type of knowledge is in the backwash of our existences.. though its likely somewhere
4.i am also thinking today about the worlds that exist... and i came to a thought i had not had before and that was.. perhaps the world in my 'head' is an actual world.
you know how we often think it isn't.. like those are just pictures flashing.. or its not real.. you discount the validity...
today as i was sitting in my father's house i was thinking.. maybe it is real.. maybe the things i see about what i want to happen are real in as sense..
i mean take this.. i haven't yet been to all the places i said i'm going to yet but i feel as if i have because i've been thinking about it pretty much nonstop for some months. i actually feel as if i have.. like i may have already finished it. I was reading this book The Bloody Chamber by a British writer named Angela Carter. Exquisite absolutely exquisite language. rendered fairy tales and folktales.. but i was thinking about writing and imagination and the ability to render something and make it real from your thoughts. nowhere is this more real than writing. perhaps that is not completely true, ther are thousands of ways.. but you take a thought, a feeling, a working and make it real on paper or voice and translate the picture, that happening, that inclination to someone else's mind. and it's more than just words really.
its and aspect or a slant off of reality, a window into a place or a feeling or a time.
There is a learning indicative in this place.. something happens to the mind or the person.. especially if they are young.. i mean this learning process... its an awakening to a feeling.. the cool undergirth of an evergreen on a gray ... the ability to get real big or real small... something actually happens and i speak form personal experience not being sure if i can translate the feeling here.. but you become subtle and sensitive to the dart, the mote, the inflection, the flavor of the scent off of the water, the sun glancing down. This is the similar kind of feeling one can get within the inflections of a day, the temperaments of nature or the wild or the grass or something. I shall try to stop explaining... but you just become sensitive to the outside inside places of reality.
5.I think we have people magic, perhaps we have life magic. when you are a child.. when you are a child you verily wishto believe in magic.. i remember.. like i spoke to one of my good friends about this.. you watch tv maybe.. or you buy a toy .. and you want it to be magic.. or you are searching for it everywhere.. i mean a barbie can only move so much.. and that troll you got with the green hair and the green jewel in its belly you made wishes on cause they said it was a wishing troll.. or you look for the gold at the end of the rainbow or you sing to plants or you believe something magical will happen.. and who knows maybe it will or maybe it did, who can say.. but i believe as you get older you can either stop believing in magic
or you can begin you can begin you can begin to see it in everything else.. you can begin to see it inthe sunrise in the half moon in the person who smiles at you you never believed would, in the story someone maybe your grandmother tells you or the feeling that whispers and winds itself around inside you day and night.. you can begin to see magic in these things.. our ability to see and feel and insinuate ourselves into our own stories and into our own living. can i insinuate myself further into my life.. can i settle deeper... can i search out and in the world over and the world inside myself for the place and the person and the pebble that i must seek. can i throw that pebble into the ocean.. can i dive into the murky blue... will i like it there? will i live there? will i wash up? can i tell a story? can i be a variation.. can i be the root and the leaf.. can i lift up twining? all these things.. something like it.
if magic were real perhaps..it would not be magic.. it would be just be reality.. or what everything was.. babies perhaps are magic.. i mean honestly i used to worry the heck out of myself with where the frick did i come from or something. that is an honest question.. and when and until i know for certain perhaps no one and nothing can dare to tell me what reality is and who i am and where we are and from whence we came? no one can tell me. no one had better try to tell me what my name is and what intisar means and what street she'd better walk down. but thats not really the problem though. sometimes i don't know what street i want to walk down.. and sometimes i get afraid.. and sometimes i am not sure about making a decision.. and sometimes my own not knowingness stifles me and i get a little caught in the inflection of the making of a solitary day. not always though. here we are.
i forget what number i am on
6. ooh maybe i shall get back to babies? who are we? are we aliens?
i am pretty convinced of our power, though sometimes i best remember when i am writing nd essentially just talking to myself. i'm pretty much convinced. and a baby is born.. and a baby is born.. and that old man.. and babies.. i mean people.. not on some feed the children type thing.. not the dumbing down of babies just because they are cute and younger.. but really.. we are so powerful and i refuse to believe one person is more powerful than another.. and i take that ish back.. i take it back.. i take it back.. you hear me i take it back.. roll the carpet back.. jump back honey jump back.. i mean yeah
7. i am also convinced that when people talk about the future of our children and saving the children and educating the children and caring for children and loving the children they are essentially talking about themselves andthat is ok..they are wanting to make a world.. they want to be loved and cared for and educated and thought about.. children represent dreaming and belief and possibility and freshness and the ability to begin and make and craft and enlighten and sing and hold hands in a circle and look up at the sky and make ourselves and cry at things that are beautiful and hold hands again with friends you would be too scared to talk to now and small hands and new faces and jumping off diving boards and maybe laughing hopefully and seeing your future before you, because thats all there is.. you are perpetual
perpetually perpetually stepping into the next second that will be you.
when people talk about the children they are talking about the children because they love them yes but also because they are talking about themselves and the world for everyone they would like to allow to make
to be. they are the children. the old people are the children. and all the folks in between. don't get too hard on yourselves. are you still a baby? are you still tender? don't lose your freshness. you never do.
8. i think about my grandfather and i think about childhood and that inflective reflective place
that is the slantwise glancing off of the sun hitting the sides of your eyes and you cry a little in that soft padding place of the newest morning ever or maybe just every again
9.i want to talk about riddling us in magic, in our stories and words and leaves, etc.. but that will be another day when i have the spin to spill all that out
10. am i done?
11. i don't know
12. i really believe i like you
13. i really believe my name is intisar.. though maybe it is not.. last year i decided to go nameless for a bit at least to myself.. i wondered what it would be like to be as raw as an animal without a name living.. what would that be like.. what would i figure out about myself.. if i allowed myself to be as namely base as a dog or any sort of animal doing its do, a being raw, would i ache and seek out the meat of a real life's living
14 is it.. unless i come back later tonight
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Goethe et al
When I first began to write, I knew I wanted to write fantasy, but I thought fantasy could only take place in a secondary world setting-somewhere other than the world we all inhabit. I learned that wasn't true as I continued to stretch and grow as a writer, and eventually found myself spending all of my time writing stories set in the here and now, with the fantasy element only stopping by for a visit.
I call what I write now "mythic fiction" - a term that my friend Terri Windling and I decided to use for our work, feeling that if our stories were going to be put in a genre (as fantasy usually is). it might as well be one we choose for ourselves.
This is what we mean by mythic fiction: stories that take place in more mainstream settings that use the material world of myths, folk tales, and folklore to illuminate their themes.
Waifs and Strays
when I can get down there as well.
i dont know if yall saw this. but its rather shocking. take a good look.
im thinking about going to Louisiana in mid-August if i can...
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [fireitup] Serious Jim Crow Racism in Louisiana - We REALLY need
Date: Wed, July 18, 2007 12:22 pm
Six young black men are headed for 20+ year prison sentences in a clear
case of Jim Crow "justice."
Photo of Jena Six Parents
Their families are fighting but need our support. Will you stand with them?
Last fall in Jena, Louisiana, the day after two Black high school students
sat beneath the "white tree" on their campus, nooses were hung from the
tree. When the superintendent dismissed the nooses as a "prank," more
Black students sat under the tree in protest. The District Attorney then
came to the school accompanied by the town's police and demanded that the
students end their protest, telling them, "I can be your best friend or
your worst enemy... I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen."1
A series of white-on-black incidents of violence followed, and the DA did
nothing. But when a white student was beaten up in a schoolyard fight, the
DA responded by charging six black students with attempted murder and
conspiracy to commit murder.
It's a story that reads like one from the Jim Crow era, when judges,
lawyers and all-white juries used the justice system to keep blacks in
"their place"--but it's happening today. The families of these young men
are fighting back, but the odds are stacked against them. Together, we can
make sure their story is told, that this becomes an issue for the Governor
of Louisiana, and that justice is provided for the Jena 6. It starts now.
Please add your voice:
The noose-hanging incident and the DA's visit to the school set the stage
for everything that followed. Racial tension escalated over the next
couple of months, and on November 30, the main academic building of Jena
High School was burned down in an unsolved fire. Later the same weekend, a
black student was beaten up by white students at a party. The next day,
black students at a convenience store were threatened by a young white man
with a shotgun. They wrestled the gun from him and ran away. While no
charges were filed against the white man, the students were arrested for
the theft of the gun.2
That Monday at school, a white student, who had been a vocal supporter of
the students who hung the nooses, taunted the black student who was beaten
up at the off-campus party and allegedly called several black students
"nigger." After lunch, he was knocked down, punched and kicked by black
students. He was taken to the hospital but was released and was well
enough to go to a social event that evening.3
Six Black Jena High students, Robert Bailey (17), Theo Shaw (17), Carwin
Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17), Mychal Bell (16) and an unidentified
minor, were expelled from school, arrested and charged with second-degree
attempted murder. Bail was set so high -- between $70,000 and $138,000 --
that the boys were left in prison for months as families went deep into
debt to release them.4
The first trial ended last month, and Mychal Bell, who has been in prison
since December, was convicted of aggravated battery and conspiracy to
commit aggravated battery (both felonies) by an all-white jury in a trial
where his public defender called no witnesses. During his trial, Mychal's
parents were ordered not to speak to the media and the court prohibited
protests from taking place near the courtroom or where the judge could see
Mychal is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st, and could go to jail for
22 years.5 Theo Shaw's trial is next. He will finally make bail this week.
The Jena Six are lucky to have parents and loved ones who are fighting
tooth and nail to free them. They have been threatened but they are
standing strong. We know that if the families have to go it alone, their
sons will be a long time coming home. They will lose precious years to
Jena's outrageous attempt to maintain a racist status quo. But if we act
now, we can make a difference.
Please add your voice to the voices of these families in Jena, and help
bring Mychal, Theo, Robert, Carwin, and Bryant home. By clicking below,
you can demand that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco get involved to
make sure that justice is served for Mychal Bell, and that DA Reed Walters
drop the charges against the 5 boys who have not yet gone to trial.
Thank You and Peace,
-- James, Van, Gabriel, Clarissa, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 17th, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
On July 7th there were seven concerts around the
world, followed by parties in more than 10,000 homes
and communities - all with the focus of ending global
warming! The power of people coming together to
create change is both our essential liberty and our
essential power, and regardless if this whole "Global
Warming" propaganda is a bunch of BS or not, it's
definitely not bad to be conscious of energy saving
options we can utilize in our daily lives.
So I'm emailing this to ask all of you to sign the
Live Earth Pledge.
If enough people can be heard, our leaders in their
golden thrones (realizing now golden means money) will
be forced to take action on an even greater level.
But until then, every small contribution helps, and
your help means a lot.
You can sign the pledge at:
And you can learn more about global warming by
and various other websites
that can be found online.
Thank you guys and dolls for reading this and
considering these very simple steps.
By Colleen Mastony
Tribune staff reporter
July 9, 2007
LOVELAND, Colo. -- Against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains,
in the far eastern corner of Colorado where the land begins to flatten
into a vast golden prairie, two teenagers trudge along the weed-bitten
edge of an isolated highway. Blistered and sunburned, they endure wind,
rain and searing heat. But still, they slog forward in what has become a
quixotic journey across the country in an effort to end the Iraq war.
Ashley Casale, 19, and Michael Israel, 18, are walking 3,000 miles from
San Francisco to Washington in a trek they once had hoped would rally the
nation and lead thousands to join them in their epic March for Peace. But,
nearly halfway through their trip, the teens remain alone, wandering the
vast landscape of America, where few have paid them any attention.
"It seems like the country is asleep," said Israel, a rail-thin young man
with deep-set blue eyes, walking the roadside on a recent morning, his
voice sometimes drowned out by the roar of huge trucks zooming past. "A
lot of people we meet are against the war. But it doesn't seem like many
people are doing anything about it."
Sometimes cattle grazing in a nearby field are their only audience, the
chirping of crickets their only encouragement. They are the loneliest
peace marchers, sleeping in parks or behind abandoned businesses,
surviving on granola bars and peanut butter, hoping that more people will
hear of their protest and join them.
Their youthful idealism comes in stark contrast to a sense of complacency
in America, where polls indicate that a majority of Americans oppose the
war but relatively few of them have taken to the streets in active
protest. Even Cindy Sheehan, the longtime face of the anti-war movement,
has abandoned her quest, saying she feared her efforts had been in vain.
"I shudder to think what it is going to take, after everything that has
happened in this country during the Bush administration, to get the
country to rise up," she said.
With the Bush administration resisting the tide of public opinion turning
against the war, "there's a sense that simply carrying a sign to show
opposition isn't very useful today," said Lawrence Wittner, a history
professor at the State University of New York at Albany and author of the
book "Peace Action."
"College-age youth are very cynical these days, which is not to say they
like the status quo -- they may mock it and tell cynical jokes. But they
have very little sense that the world can be dramatically transformed,"
Stark contrast with 1960s
The nature of the war in Iraq also has helped avert the outrage that led
to the large-scale demonstrations of the 1960s, experts say. Today, there
is no draft. The roughly 160,000 soldiers stationed in Iraq and the 3,605
who have died are dwarfed by the statistics of Vietnam, with 543,000
troops deployed at the war's height and 58,000 dead by war's end.
"I think a major reason people aren't out on the streets like they were in
the '60s is that people don't have anything personally at stake in the
war," Sheehan said.
Against this backdrop, the two teenagers have decided to walk. Their packs
leave bruises on their backs, and their shoes have worn holes. Their skin
has darkened to a chestnut hue and their bodies have grown lean. Over
seven weeks they have traversed four states, more than 1,400 miles.
They make an unlikely pair. Israel is quiet and soft-spoken, and wears a
floppy fishing hat. Casale is vivacious and outgoing, wearing outlandish
orange sunglasses and carrying a cell phone that constantly rings with
calls from activists and family checking the marchers' progress. They had
not met in person before the march began.
As they travel the highways, they have glimpsed the nation's conflicting
and complex feelings on the war. One woman working on a road crew in
Colorado choked back emotion as she told them her son was shipping out to
Iraq. "I don't like war either," she said before handing them her last few
dollar bills. A Vietnam veteran selling produce at a roadside stand
offered the travelers a free bag of cherries. "The government is sending
those boys to die just like they did in Vietnam," he said.
But the marchers also have faced the nation's anger. An Army recruiter
said American soldiers were making the real "march for peace" over in
Iraq. And a farmer who initially had agreed to let them stay on his land
abruptly asked them to leave after they told him they were protesting. At
the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, rangers refused to let the
pair enter until they put away the signs that read "March for Peace." And
on July 4, a driver in a passing car yelled: "Bunch of hippies! Bomb
A idealist's idea
The idea for the march came to Casale last autumn. A freshman at Wesleyan
University in Middletown, Conn., she had attended war protests but thought
that a cross-country march could attract more attention. She established a
Web site, www.marchforpeace.info, sent out hundreds of fliers to other
college campuses and contacted peace groups around the country. Israel,
about to graduate a home-school high school program in Jackson, Calif.,
spotted a notice online. Though dozens of people showed interest, in the
end, only Israel and another woman agreed to walk.
They set off from San Francisco on May 21, carrying 40-pound packs. By the
end of the first week, the third marcher dropped out. Another activist
told them they would never make it to Washington by their target date,
Sept. 11. But they pressed on, crossing into Nevada and making their way
across the desert in two weeks. Then on to Utah and Colorado.
Their determination has endeared them to many. After seeing the holes in
Casale's shoes, a man in Sacramento bought her a new pair of sandals. An
elderly man in Colorado drove their packs ahead for two days and called
his friends who lived along the route to arrange for shelter.
"I read about them in the paper yesterday and thought, 'Oh my God, we have
to help them,'" said Bobbi Benson, 48, of Boulder, who helped drive the
packs forward through Colorado. "They just have such courage."
'This is the whole point'
On July 4, Casale and Israel walked the 20 miles from Loveland to Greeley,
two towns in a solidly Republican corner of Colorado. As they trudged
along the roadside, the Rocky Mountains dominated the horizon behind them.
And before them, fields of wheat and corn stretched for miles.
"People who see us today might see us as un-American or unpatriotic," said
Casale, about to dart across an expressway ramp. "But I think this is the
whole point of this country and July 4: People taking an active role, and
They walked for hours under the hot sun. When they finally made it to
Greeley, someone yelled an obscenity out a car window. A few minutes
later, a man in a Cadillac waved dismissively at them. But others honked
support, signaling with a thumbs up or a peace sign.
And when they ducked inside a restaurant, one customer, Carla DeVries, 51,
cheered them on. With perfectly coiffed blond hair and wearing a bright
pink sweater, DeVries said she is a Republican and supports the war but
said, "It's refreshing to see anyone do anything that takes adversity."
She smiled at Casale and said: "You stick to your guns."
Twelve hours after they began walking, the sun going down on Greeley and
the rat-a-tat-tat of celebratory firecrackers echoing in the distance, the
two marchers arrived at a beige split-level house, where someone had
offered them a place to sleep. A gray-haired woman rushed to the screen
door. "Welcome! Welcome!" called Jean Taylor-Smith, 74, embracing them on
the doorstep. "We didn't think you'd ever make it!"
Nearly halfway to goal
The two marchers were exhausted, but they also were nearly halfway to
Washington. On Sunday they were near Gothenburg, Neb. A peace group has
arranged a rally in Omaha, where they hope to draw large crowds.
"If I could have it my way, I would have hundreds of people out here. The
more people the better. But I still don't believe it's insignificant that
two people are marching," said Casale, sitting on a couch drinking a tall
glass of ice water, her list of contacts spread on her lap. "What we're
doing can be significant on a national level. But it's also the
individuals we meet. Everywhere we go, there's someone we can meet and
Taylor-Smith, standing in the kitchen, beamed with pride.
"One person can change the world," she said, rushing to fill everyone's
water glasses, asking what the marchers wanted to eat. "These two will
plant the seeds, and the movement will grow."
- - -
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
BEND, Ore. (July 10) - Last weekend, Bend gas station owner Kent Couch settled down in his lawn chair with some drinks and snacks -- and a parachute....
..."When you're a little kid and you're holding a helium balloon, it has to cross your mind," he told the Bend Bulletin.
Monday, July 9, 2007
I saw this a couple of weeks ago at my grandmother's house and think its pretty remarkable.
This fellow is the youngest person to fly solo around the world, and reputably the first black person. He completed his journey last month.
He is 23.
His story of flight, from his beginnings of thought, to calling manufacturers to donate airplane parts to the flight itself is remarkable,
and really speaks of a kind of perseverance,
all things being possible eh?
Barrington Irving's World Flight Adventure
Sunday, July 8, 2007
way, the act of rebirth. you confront completeLy new
situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most
journeys you don't even understand the language the
people speak. so you are like a child just out of
womb. you begin to attach much more importance to the
things around you because your survival depends upon
them. you begin to be more acceSsible to others because
they may be able to help you in difficult situations.
and you accept any small favor from the gods with
great delight, as if it were an episode you would
remember for the rest of your life.
at the same time, since all things are new, you see
only the beauty in them, and you feel happy to be
alive. that's why a religious pilgrimage has always
been one one of the most objective ways of achieving
insight. the word peccadillo, which means a "small
sin" comes from pecus, which means "defective foot," a
foot that is incapable of walking a road. the way to
correct the peccadillo is always to walk forward,
adapting oneself to new situations and receiving in
return all of the thousands of blessings that life
generously offers to those who seek them."
The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
as I have just woken up..
went to the barbershop yesterday evening to get a shape up as it was getting unruly.
Went to the barbershop with my mother and Amenta and Kalimah. We all ended up getting
haircuts, except for Kalimah.
Do you evr feel shy when you are writing.. not because of anything really, or anyone.. but you come in kind of searching among the many sentences you could write or the sort of story you want to get into telling. Like my Baba plays the flute and the saxophone.. and I believe it is the saxophone, there's like a piece of wooden material.. maybe it is not even wooden, but before he begins to play it, he has to wet this piece of material with his mouth, before he puts it on the saxophone. The details may be wrong here I'm not a saxophonist. I am working from memory here. Can you imagine wetting a piece of wood with your mouth.. its dry and you have to prepare the way with your wetness through the hollow places.. soak it of yourself.
and then there are the .. those trying blasts to ascertain the particular quality for which you are searching
What I am saying is though.. i got my hair done yestererday.. had a garage sale.. lived a little maybe a lot, and had a lot of questions.
I am supposed to be talking about my barbershop experience. Can't seem to though, the short of it is that we're going into interview this barber and some people this week, inside of the barber shop, this place on Lamar Ave. here in Memphis not 3 minutes from my father's house.
Long story short my mother went into this place last summer and through the ways and windings of talk they figured out that this man had cut my grandfather's hair back when he was a young man in West Point, MS. Now my grandfather has been gone for 5 years now in a couple of days.
I've been transcribing conversations and things people have said to me.. notetaking of important things and thoughts in notebooks..
and people tell stories in all sorts of ways... and people tell stories in barbershops..
what i am discovering are the many ways to tell the story.. we had a pretty great experience there last night, but how can i tell you or course.
there are ways.. i can write down some of the notes i took, i didn't have my recorder so i have notes of sentences and phrases ..
i could post a picture, as i did have my camera but i didn't take too many honestly
yesterday was a listening day,
i feel as thought neither would properly tell,
sometimes you must synthesize, you must tell your own story to tell someone else's, you must invoke your own experience, weave it into the narrative, fill the raw data with your words, your feeling, and your wetness to translate.
How do we keep the stories of the people who are with us now and those who are gone?
How do we keep those stories, stories meaning meaning, stories meaning importance?
before recordings, and before photographs, before all of those things.
Both of my grandparents have passed on my mother's side.. she was an only child.. we were pretty close.. and I realize I have talked about them before here, and I guess this won't be the last time. These are the kind of questions you remember. And maybe you are not so much grieving after people pass but in cycles, or phases of remembrance. We are always remembering the present-past, the present-present, and the future-present.
Something we had been talking about is this concept of time, that perhaps everything exists at the same moment or what has is..
This was the first time I had visited with this particular barber or sat down in his shop.
I used to comb my grandfather's hair. He didn't need me to, but I liked to play in it. He would have one of those black plastic combs with the handle. And his hair was very gray white and soft with marble sized curls that curled into themselves, and I would make lines and parts and comb it to the back and comb it to the front. I was smaller then so I'd be kneeling on a stool or sitting on the bar or maybe on the back of the couch. His hair was pretty soft. Mine is pretty wiry, but anyways..
West Point, MS and the ways that people are linked and the many ways the story can be told, again and again, unfolding
I think I am perhaps finished with this particular story right now and maybe will come back later,
but in the mean time I am revisiting a book by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype.
In the back there is an excerpt from another book she has written, that pretty much
colored my experiences yesterday. Here it is.
This old tale was handed down to me in many different versions over many an evening fire. The tellers are various good and rustic people from Eastern Europe, most of whom still live by the oral tradition. This story is about the great wise man, the Bal Shem Tov.
The beloved Bal Shem Tov was dying and sent for his disciples.
"I have acted as an intermediary for you, and now when I am gone you must do this for yourselves. You know the place in the forest where I call to God? Stand there in that place and do the same. You know how to light the fire, and how to say the prayer. Do all of these and God will come."
After the Bal Shem Tov died, the first generation did exactly as he had instructed, and God always came. But by the second generation, the people had forgotten how to light the fire in the way the Bal Shem Tov had taught them. Nevertheless, they stood in the special place in the forest and they said the prayer, and God came.
By the third generation, the people had forgotten how to light the fire, and they had forgotten the place in the forest. But they spoke the prayer, nevertheless, and God still came.
In the fourth generation, everyone had forgotten how to build the fire, and no one knew any longer knew just where in the forest one should stand, and finally too, the prayer itself could not be recalled. But one person still remembered the story about it all, and told it aloud. And God still came. . . .
-The Gift of Story: A Wise Tale About What is Enough
I just liked it.
Friday, July 6, 2007
The Planet of Junior Brown Virginia Hamilton
The Witch of Portobello Paulo Coelho
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Steven King
Also lovingly perusing a waterlogged copy of Brian Lankers
book/project of photographs and interviews
I Dream a World
This project took Lanker over two years. And it's pretty beautiful.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
For my people everywhere singing their slave songs repeatedly: their dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, praying their prayers nightly to an unknown god, bending their knees humbly to an unseen power;
For my people lending their strength to the years, to the gone years and the nowyears and the maybe years, washing ironing cooking scrubbing sewing mending hoeing plowing digging planting pruning patching dragging along never gaining never reaping never knowing and never understanding;
For my playmates in the clay and dust and sand of Alabama backyards playing baptizing and preaching and doctor and jail and soldier and school and mama and cooking and playhouse and concert and store and hair and Miss Choomby and company;
For the cramped bewildered years we went to school to learn to know the reasons why and the answers to and the people who and the places where and the days when, in memory of the bitter hours when we discovered we were black and poor and small and different and nobody cared and nobody wondered and nobody understood;
For the boys and girls who grew in spite of these thing to be man and woman, to laugh and dance and sing and play and drink their wine and religion and success, to marry their playmates and bear children and then die of consumption and anemia and lynching;
For my people thronging 47th Street in Chicago and Lenox Avenue in New York and Rampart Street in New Orleans, lost disinherited dispossessed and happy people filling the cabarets and taverns and other people's pockets needing bread and shoes and milk and land and money and something-something all our own;
For my people walking blindly spreading joy, losing time being lazy, sleeping when hungry, shouting when burdened, drinking when hopeless, tied and shackled and tangled among ourselves by the unseen creatures who tower over us omnisciently and laugh;
For my people blundering and groping and floundering in the dark of churches and schools and clubs and societies, associations and councils and committees and conventions, distressed and disturbed and deceived and devoured by money-hungry glory-craving leeches, preyed on by facile force of state and fad and novelty, by false prophet and holy believer;
For my people standing trying to fashion a better way from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding, trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people, all the faces, all the dams and eves and their countless generations;
Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace by written in the sky. Let a second generation full of courage issue forth; let a people loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty full of healing and strength of final clenching by the pulsing in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs by written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control.
Margaret Walker born July 7, 1915 in Birmingham Alabama
First African American to win Yale Younger Poets Award
For My People Written at age 22