I think something is starting to jiggle loose in my mind. Maybe it’s because of the piano. I took a solo day (as each of us does about once a month) to Salt Point State Park and stayed overnight. On the way back, I stopped at Portuguese Beach, put on my Teva hiking sandals, and went down to the shore level to check out my magic cave at low tide. I was overwhelmed by how powerful it felt to stand in the mouth of the cave and let wave after wave wash over my feet and legs, feel how the sand caressed me on the way out, and just be there in that place of power.
And then words jumped into my head. “Feeling good about where I’ve been.” OK, that was true. I’d had an exceptional time at Salt Point, visited the seals and had a magnificent camp-cooked dinner. But this didn’t feel like a random brain-bubble, it felt like the beginning of a song. It’s been years since a song has come calling. Very soon a second line joined it: “I didn’t always know where I was going.” Aha. I realized this was bubbling up from the memoir, which was nearing the end of a first draft. (Finished that today, first draft of Volume I of three.)
This is a strangely big deal for me, the possibility of a new song. It means my creative mind is waking up after a long Covid nap. Today while we were having our Sunday ocean picnic at a new site (a keeper), a wig-bubble splatted me. Yesterday, at our regular Oral Tradition poetry gathering, I recited a short poem by Jo Carson from her book Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet. I’d recited a couple of her poems over the years, and the response has always been warm. Years ago I played the role of Jo Carson in her play Daytrips and came deeply into her writer’s heart, and suddenly I had a thought. What if I made a solo piece from these poems and called it “Diner?”
Jo had a serious hearing disability and had a pretty high-powered hearing aid. She loved sitting in a booth at the end of a diner, cranking that puppy up, and listening to everybody talk. That’s the feeling of all these poems: listening to real people talk in their own voices. Back when we were in Lancaster PA, I did a massive solo piece based on the poems of Pamela White Hadas, Beside Herself: Pocahontas to Patty Hearst, so I’ve been there before. I’d love to do this.
I have no idea whether we can start touring live performance again, but I surely want to do it if it wouldn’t mean a death sentence. House concerts are good. I don’t know whether we’d do book readings or perform or both. Jo left this plane in 2011, but I think her spirit just came to say she’d be willing to come along. Howdy, partner.