- Of course, this experience of being a painting makes me think of Linda Pastan’s incredible “Ethics.” http://shenandoahliterary.org/blog/2011/09/linda-pastan-ethics/ I’m not suggesting you should elect the same question (a Rembrandt painting/or an old woman who hadn’t many/ years left anyhow?) for your writing. Maybe you ought to increase the stakes?
Piazza della Republica, Florence
Of course, carouse is at the heart of the word “carousel.” And, we do not deny we were utterly intoxicated by the lively accordion tunes from the carousel; by the buzz of activity on the square, including musicians and strolling lovers; by the joy of the last few merry-go-round riders; by the cold that made us aware that we needed to keep moving and that the graceful herd of twenty buckskins and creamy palominos, elegant as ballerinas, enchanting as unicorns, had dazzled us so that we were practically frozen in their presence. We could not resist envisioning ourselves resting in the two golden carriages covered in blankets or, dare we think it, furs; warm.
Something inside us that hadn’t twinkled in a long time was stirred, and we, delighted that star was still there, were ready to wander back into real life, into being middle-aged tourists.
- There are many carousel inspired pieces out there in the world. Zachary Schomburg gives us the sense of being inside a carousel, of being pinned to the wall and then made disoriented by the spinning in his “The Carousel” https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/carousel. And, take a look at Laura Kasischke’s poem, “Recall the Carousel” at https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/recall-carousel. Her piece is a frightening reminiscence of the threats facing children. The poem takes a sharp turn into the dreadful as she writes: “The carousel? Do you recall? As if/ we were our own young parents suffering again/after so many hundreds of hours of bliss.” Suffering seems to be understatement in the face of horrors she evokes. What happens when you step onto/into the carousel stage?
I have four Advanced Composition courses and Creative Writing, English lab hours and four independent study students. Also, this is the semester I will start a new campus-wide writers’ workshop, bring one of the artists from Oaxaca, continue the weekly intercambios at Home Depot, and lead a week-long philanthropy fair (in November). I refuse to use the word: busy. I am occupied. I am in motion.
I’ll find a little bit of summer, a diversion from the semester’s motion in my students’ blogs. This semester’s blogs start tomorrow, and they are:
Please follow them, like them, tell them what you are thinking.
The other day as I was navigating an unfamiliar street and preparing for an unusual conversation, I must have had a serious look on my face. A man commanded me in Spanish and then English to smile. I had to laugh at how serious I was with my errand, how I had been rehearsing my lines. Always concerned about being appropriately polite, I also wasn’t so sure if the words for what I wanted.
Of course, I smiled. In fact, I practically laughed at the irony because, especially in photos (or drawings), Oaxacans often assume a serious posture that typically does not include a smile. They may be grinning up to the minute the shot is taken, but almost always, this neutral to serious face appears, provoking me to want to command: Smile.
As soon as he saw me on the Zocalo, Mateo wanted the camera. We needed to wait for Cecilia and Augostino who were elsewhere trying to magnify sales before our meal. Mateo seemed to have a plan for the day. He was taking pictures of the mannequins in the windows, enjoying the reflections in the floor and the glass and in a car on the street. I love how he’s intuiting what the camera can do, how he’s learning to look at light and shadows as he is steadying his hands. His pictures are clear and planned.