Wednesday
Sep172008

Telling

I’m not a fan of the memoir. All that disclosure. All that self-absorbed recall. In this age of tell-all and tell it well, my tastes seem woefully out of step.

When it comes to reading for pleasure (and what other kind of reading is there, really?), I want my books full of characters and tone, and a plot that offers discovery, even a painfully beautiful reckoning. I don’t go for the light stuff (too often) but I don’t want real life – the memoir -- to intrude on my mental adventure.

So it is with great surprise that I find myself immersed in Telling, A Memoir of Rape and Recovery by Patricia Weaver Francisco.

It is painful and searing and so beautifully written that I read it in almost one sitting. I only put the book down so I could step away to breathe. When the book was published in 1999, it was hailed as sad and wise, with writing both lyrical and electrifying.

Days before I turned the first page, I circled the book with apprehension, afraid to dive into such sorrow. But in just the first chapter, I was clinging to a life raft of pain, my knuckles worn and grateful. Weaver Francisco said she wrote this book for “the men and women who are friends and spouses and fathers and sisters of rape survivors. It's a terribly difficult position to be in. Most of us have no idea what happens to a woman afterward, what to expect or what a survivor might need. We don't even know what questions to ask.”

I still don’t know. But I feel closer to the conversation now. With Telling, a heavy door has opened just enough to offer a slice of thin light.

Wednesday
Sep172008

Fall: fog, thick and cold


Still


Drew Myron

At midnight, we're still talking,
trying on our better selves.
We bandage our flaws, hold
fragile knowledge in warm hands.

Tuesday
Sep092008

You Reading This . . .

What took me so long to find William Stafford?

He is an Oregon icon, a Pacific Northwest treasure, and a prolific writer respected on a national scale (said to have written a poem each day, for decades). He passed away in 1993 but he left us with nearly 50 books of poetry and thousands of poems.

Here's one of my favorites:

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life —

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

— William Stafford
From The Way It Is
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, 1998

Wednesday
Sep032008

Forecast

 

So many of the swell things in life — friendship and love, to name the most profound — succeed in a spirit of collaboration. Created by a blend of ideas and enthusiasm, the best combinations are rooted in trust, adventure and play.


And creative play is at the heart of Forecast, an unusual word-art collaboration that combines my poetry with 12 brilliant interpretive paintings by Tracy Weil.

 

For Forecast, I used my obsession with daily horoscopes as a launching point to craft “horoscope poems,” a form that — like a forecast — directs and suggests. Complementing the poems are Weil's lively, abstract works. In a style that’s been termed “Dr. Seuss meets Van Gogh,” Weil paints imagined landscapes where realism and surrealism meet in a colorful world both playful and profound.

It’s been called a quirky concept, and indeed, Forecast is inventive and unconventional. And it carries a spirit of play that punctuates every Tracy Weil + Drew Myron collaboration.

As close friends and creative cohorts for over 20 years, we’ve generated numerous joint projects, from handmade books, to group shows, gallery readings and more. We revel in the creative process: the zing of a brainstorm, the aha! of ideas, the mystery of execution, and the complete joy and relief of expression.

And now we invite you to join in the fun!

Forecast
Featuring horoscope-inspired poems by Drew Myron
and interpretive abstract paintings by Tracy Weil

Opening Party on Friday, Sept 26 from 6-9pm
+ a Word-Art Workshop on Saturday, Sept 27 from 10am-noon
Show runs September 26 – November 16, 2008

Weilworks Gallery
3611 Chestnut Place
Denver, Colorado 80216
303.308.9345
www.weilworks.com

 

 

Thursday
Aug282008

Letters written, sent, savored

To say what letters contain is impossible. Did you ever touch your tongue to a metal surface in winter — how it felt not to get a letter is easier to say . . . In a letter both reader and writer discover an ideal image of themselves, short blinding passages are all it takes.

- Anne Carson, The Beauty of the Husband


Is there anything better than a letter – for both writer and reader? I've always loved correspondence, the handwritten kind that takes time to unfurl.

I wrote my first letter to my grandparents who lived three states -- and a world -- away. I was 6, and I would dictate to my mother what I wanted to say. I would then copy her version onto my own paper, in my own hand. My grandma always responded right away (and my grandpa, too, with his own short postscript), and even included primitive, playful drawings of the Washington farm where they raised my father.

As I got older, penpals joined my address book. They were bookish, earnest girls like me, who lived in places I'd never been: Wisconsin and Texas and other exotic locales. No deep friendships formed, but I was happy to write cheery letters on specially purchased stationery. I was even happier to receive a letter in return.

How are you? I am fine.
Do you live by the ocean? Do you have a brother?

I have a dog we call George, but her real name is Georgina.

Later, letter opportunities increased: my best friend moved out-of-state, a boyfriend went to college, I moved across the country. I was jubiliant with the possibilites, but aware that my fondness for letters carried the melancholy themes of loss and change. After all, correspondence is created in absence. With each departure, there is sadness at the parting but happiness in the possibility that deeper selves might emerge across messy pages of real feeling.

But it's too much to ask, really. Letter writers are rare.

For over 30 years, my grandma and I regularly exchanged letters, until she died two years ago at the age of 95. My post office box is empty now but my email box is full. Though I'm grateful for any form of genuine connection, it's just not the same.

I miss letters, the way they slow time to invite thoughtful reflection for both writer and reader. I'm looking for gentle gestures these days, the curve of letters, the slope of a signature, the cross-out in mid-thought. Letters are tender reminders that feeling is first, just as e.e cummings says. One must pause, read, and then read beyond.

In a letter, writer and reader share a special language. In each envelope, we seal a message unsaid: I look for you in the pages, and see my own reflection, too.