Saturday, October 19, 2013
Packing to be at Ghost Ranch for two weeks teaching and writing, I decided this time to travel light – one bag of clothes, one sack of books, one bulging file of handouts/exercises, flashlight, and homemade (thank you, Margaret!) cookies to lure friends to my room for happy sugar hour.
Why do you always have to go to Neww Meexxico? she complained, and rightly so, since I was going to miss her soccer tournament.
It was enough to make me consider for just a second staying home and yelling for the North OKC Reds. (It turns out those girls took the trophy and didn’t even need my extra cheering.)
My Fall Writing Festival class was actually called: This Land – Writing Out of the Places We Know. Laken’s reminder that we probably all have an inner landscape where language is not inhibited by someone else’s sense of form and beauty was more important to me last week than clean underwear or a nighttime flashlight.
Like seven-year-olds on the cusp of reason but clearly committed to imagination, all the writers who joined me at the Ranch this year took Laken’s exclamation to heart and revisited that place where, as Sandburg said, we were first given a song and a slogan to sing.
The Spanish have a word : Querencia – the place where you feel you are your most authentic self.
In the end, the wave that broke a girl’s neck was given a name, a woman waiting for her lover in the airport made place out of that placelessness we call a terminal, an ancient mother was given voice, a flood was brought to life, erosion was honored, green was deepened and made real, a family that didn’t seem containable was poured into a fine container, the Continental Divide rose up nicely, a raven shook things up, and then at the end of a street where you would think nothing was going to happen, profanity found the perfect place to speak, and speak she did.
And let’s make sure our granddaughters ask us: what’s a girdle? Incredulously.
Thank you, Jeanne, Louise, Marilyn, Rosemary, Susan P., Susan J., Jane, Kathy, Dorothy, and Helen. You are my favorite ten each with a lovely inner seven.