Belated Notes from the Road

I had a plan to blog everyday during a journey, complete with photographs. What I have found with blogging, writing, photographing, videotaping, or any such recordings of experience, is that the process of noticing and recording the experience becomes the experience. It changes the experience. It can heighten or it can distract. And when you are struggling with lack of sleep from an onslaught of ideas, memories, from moving from one principality of sky and earth to another too quickly, without time to visit and share, and you have performances to be up for--sleeping, when possible, and eating for energy, take over.

No excuses.

Here's some highlights, insights:

Walking downtown Santa Fe at dusk after an incredible dinner at Pasqual's and discovering Cafe Paris tucked into Burro Alley where Tahitian dancers were practicing for a show. For me it was a convergence of perfection: Tahitians, Paris, Santa Fe and New Mexico.

The drive from the Albuquerque airport to Taos, New Mexico on a Sunday afternoon with L. and Jill Bialosky, my Norton editor. The sky blue and the earth freshened with recent rains. Memories a stacked and flowing ribbon of earth.

A prairie dog town behind the Sagebrush Inn in Taos.

Shaking with exhaustion while dressing and getting ready to head over to the conference center for dinner and a performance. I don't usually know where it's going to come from or how it's going to happen. It's like writing a poem or a song. I have to stand sideways, do my practice, write my notes. Then I acknowledge the source and turn it over. I walk out into the late sun, into a field of sage and damp earth. It finds me.

A fire in the fireplace in the room with friends, and Pam Houston's dog Fenton who remembered the room, and the door leading to the prairie dog town. He asked to be let out into the night, for memory.

(No photo of Fenton. This is Pam Houston, one of my favorite writers, and me.)

How my youngest grandchild who is learning to stand stood in the swimming pool holding onto a rail and splashing. Joy. Then she experiments; she let go and fell back into the water. She's under. Quick rescue. She gasps, briefly cries with shock. Then she's again holding onto the rail and splashing. She trusts. All of us fall many times before the triumph of the first step. Why are some so trusting of the process, and others fearful? Even at that young age she could have made a decision that water is bad and vowed to never enter it or trust it again. Water then would be labeled "bad"--and the "water" part of experience would be injured. Then, the light of the spirit, dimmed.

Playing "shark" in the pool to lighten the spirit especially of my grandson Tayo, but for all of them.

Tamarin's grace and beauty.

Ditto on the second performance at St. John's College for the Breadloaf group. Not enough sleep again. Not sure where it's going to come from--practicing sax in a room, singing to find the spirit of the evening. I am blessed by family. I sit near the back when I'm ready. The threads are coming together in a beautiful pattern: my ex and a woman, my sister, L., my daughter and her children, Craig Womack, Gerardo and the luminous memory of that room when Mei Mei Berrssenbrugge and Lesllie Silko and me were there years ago for an event.

A discussion with L. on the plane from Phoenix to Honolulu about story, after reading my colleague Dan Mueller's story, "Connected". There has to be mystery, a large unknown, a discovery when you're writing--if there isn't one, then what is the point? Creative acts are about bringing mystery into physical shape. (Mueller's story, by the way, the mystery is human motivation and behavior....)

And more...later.

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