Monday, April 7, 2008

Bridging the Americas

What a moment. What a day!
There's a lot to even attempt to explain, which I don't think I will try to do today. But I'm reading several books these days.. just started James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room" for class. And how that man's writing's pulls from the jump, right off the page.. this man knew something about something.. and shoot he wasn't afraid to tell it. Or if he was I guess he moved pass that.
Such is life. What else is one to do with it? I don't know!
And doing research.. ahh the realms of twisting library stacks and books and meanings and ways.
I'm severely limiting my time on the internet, as it has likely taken over key aspects of my life.. just putting that out there.. and there are too many books and too many people I want to know.. and so much I have to write .. to myself.. and other people.
But I'm watching this movie Quilombo tonight for my Afro-Brazilian dance class/ this research. Reading Bridging the Americas: The Literature of Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Gayl Jones by Stelamaris Coser and some other things, other things. All three of these writers wrote something in connection to the theme of literal flight, as in running away or the myth of the flying African.
So much theory! And so much analysis and so much reaching deep and reaching down! Oh goodness.
You know how you can have a piece of writing, a thick thick piece of writing and then unpacking the symbolisms and the metaphors and the structure and all the social meanings and reaching forwards and back! MAN, LITERARY THEORY!
Such is art!
It has the power to contain our memory and contain our feeling and contain our questings, for who we are! It has that power and you are watching and you are listening and you are knowing something. All within a folktale or a myth or a play or a song.
That's why art and writing and all those things are important. You can say so many things, without saying anything. You can waft it. And the people who know and need to will catch it.
But here I am unpacking all that.. that's what all this is.. unpacking the stories and the instinct and the remembrance.
Like I knew how to dance before anyone taught me how.. there was something I knew.. halfway because I was taught it as a child, but also because it was apart of my culture and part of me.. and that thing has followed me since.. and it's with me now.. and I can perform anywhere and call up that memory.
There was something Habone said when we were in Djibouti, about "the blood recognizing blood." I will go so far as to say that memory recognizes memory. There is something we remember, be it different or the same.. but let me stop going on and into those recesses.

"The conceptions of literature connecting Marshall, Morrison, and Jones to Garcia Marquez and Fuentes hace to do with the recuperation of memory through the tradition of storytelling inherited from mothers and grandmothers. Storytelling is a communal practice that frees history from the constraints of the dominant narrative, creating a future outside the hegemonic social practice. [ p. 16 Coser]
As we reach the end of the twentieth century, writers from both Latin America and minority groups in the United States realize that there is still much to do and change in this world and a whole history to be written, 'An endless task, the cataloging of reality," predicted the Caribbean Frantz Fanon. [ p. 18 Coser]
I guess I'd like to say in wake of this last statement that writing could be anything.. that writing could be dance or filmmaking or banking.. There's a lot, not all I think which has or need to be done with this burden of history..
I think the next time I might like to talk about this idea of the burden of history.. really?.. i mean let's...


Sonnet (1979)

Caught- the bubble
in the spirit-level,
a creature divided;
and the compass needle
wobbling and wavering,
Freed- the broken
thermometer's mercury
running away;
and the rainbow-bird
from the narrow bevel,
of the empty mirror,
flying wherever
it feels like, gay!

-Elizabeth Bishop


  1. I'm looking for the video you shot of the author & the doll maker @ the Civil Rights dinner. Friday night where Harry belafonte spoke! I can't find it? Where is it?