Sunday, July 8, 2007

on notes of all kinds

Good Morning...
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.


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