Posts tagged: freedom

Jenische (Gypsies)…

They were camped less than a mile outside Cooke Barracks in the empty field on the way to town for months.  The young children would wave at me as I passed by.  I would walk because, 1. I was in tip top physical shape and, 2. I did not have a license to drive in Germany.  Everyone on Base noticed them – the gypsies – camped like something out of a movie. Dark haired, dark complexioned – a beautiful and intriguing people… One weekend, the children waved as usual but the teen-aged girls called me over to have me show them how to put on makeup.  I showed them how to apply eyeliner, mascara, blush, lipstick… losing my stash of course to their giddy “May I haves.”  I asked them if they were gypsies, “No, we are German” they answered.  Adamantly, Wir sind Deutsch.  We are German.”  The next time I walked to town, they were gone…

I think about them sometimes – German, not Armenian, not gypsies – and the freedom I felt standing there in their camp.  I think about their claim to a land, a heritage not expected by outsiders or even by insiders with standardized tests.  They did not look the part but the field settled softly beneath their trailers disguised as carts disguised as trailers.  And the trees hung over them shielding their skin from the penetrating sun as if ordained as covering since the beginning of time.  And when they were gone, the trees sagged and could be heard moaning for the children.

Gypsies; part of the world but not confined by the world, always ready and willing to move anywhere to find home – never losing the authenticity of self.  Owning their space and place in time, they drew you into their story…made you look…made you want to know…

Sometimes, I feel like a gypsy (submitting work authentic to me and clearly not on the same-dar as what is being selected).  Sometimes I consider “what if I changed”…but never do because it’s the me way down on the inside that’s got so much to say and there is somebody somewhere who needs exactly what I write, how I write it, because the feeling of freedom when I write is worth the waiting period needed for that gypsy spark to ignite.  It must be the softness of the ground beneath my feet begging for seed during the planting season promising fruit during the harvest that keeps me pushing on head first into the wind and rain…into the fray…because I belong…because I am a storyteller…

When contemplating words and worlds, sometimes I go to the movies to see what other stories are being told.  It inspires/fuels/rouses me to create another day…  On my last such outing, I went to see THE GREY by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers (based on the short story by Jeffers titled GHOST WALKER).  It is a wonderful movie, wonderfully told.  There is a poem in it that made me think of my life as a writer… in this time just before…

Once more into the fray

Into the last fight I’ll ever know

Live and die on this day

Live and die on this day.

from THE GREY

And all the artists said, “Amen.”

The Deliberate…

It’s time to write but the internal mulling over process is growing branches – more like veins – and they’re burrowing…going places I did not expect.  I have been reading a lot of poetry lately – writing more of it than I have in years.  I have entered my sacred circle, searching for stories never expecting to find them in poetry but there they are – visible more to my ear than my eye, writing an old thing a new way.  I found a new poet, too.  Nikky Finney – who is not new but somehow she was hidden from me all these years.  Perhaps, I wasn’t ready for her; she’s intense.  Her poems help me understand the ache in my own poetry to be more than…  They’re like short stories – her poetry.  Raw, refined and full of truth – her poetry is a lesson in the deliberate…   Deliberate as in:  Intentional, on purpose, premeditated, calculated, planned, and not accidental.  Every writer should have/develop the ability to deliberately tell their stories, their way – to flip the switch that turns off all outside interference and just say it…

I am noticing a greater freedom in my poetry lately.  Now that I am focusing on it; it seems to have evolved into another form of storytelling.  It even almosts writes like a play.  In the past, I have written monologues in poetry but I never thought much about the connection to a freedom I haven’t had in my plays.  Not that I am not free already but in poetry, one can be sparse and direct and move on to the next thought.  This is the first time my poetry has become part of my circle where I thought of it as story first.  Putting together a manuscript recently, I found myself looking at the context of the whole, the arch, the subtext of the whole, the imagery, the story…   And, now, I can hear pieces and parts of poetry whispering to me from the shadows; on the verge of the light of day yet always just able to crawl back into their hiding places – too many to catch.  They want me to sit with them by the fire and listen as they slowly tell me – everything…they promise to tell me everything…  But, I have been so busy lately; there has been no time to linger in my sacred circle longer than a moment. Especially, since I was expecting characters from a play to speak and not fragments of poetry. 

Maybe the poetry will end up being a play…  At any rate, if I deliberately go with the flow and write whatever wants to be written now; I am sure it will enhance every area of my writing life.   May be the break will bring me back to the characters more refreshed and ready to rock and roll.  As long as I can meet my deadlines…

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