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out of oz

Dorothy Gale taught me all about the power of rainbows, courage, strength, and right living. She was one of the most important fictional characters of my childhood years. When I think of her, I still think of miracles, dreams, blue birds, yellow bricks, and the green Emerald City. And of course, Dorothy’s magical shoes and the Wicked Witch of the West comes to mind. Defeated!

How ravishing when my love for one of my favorite fictional characters of my youth is rekindled in an unexpected arrested moment. Memories of Dorothy, the wonderful sparkling character created by L. Frank Baum, author of the children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, came flooding in when I was recently reading Lucy Pollard-Gott’s latest review: In and “Out of Oz:” Dorothy in the “Wicked Years” series.

Pollard-Gott’s reviews are always thrilling to me. Thrilling, because I am reminded how the lives of fictional characters have the power to recreate themselves into new landscapes and stories. I learn how a character’s  life always has a new potential for life when he or she falls into the hands of a divine creator. Creators are keepers of immortality.

And so in her latest review, author Pollard-Gott takes the beloved character of Dorothy, created at the turn of the 20th-century, and expands to explain how she as well as other characters of the classic tale inspired author Gregory Maguire to refashion the Oz world in four volumes of his works. Now, I have never read Maguire’s Ozian books, but I am sure if I did I might not look at Oz ever in the same way. In what way might I see Dorothy today?

Well here then is my Ozian collage. I did not use a picture of Judy Garland, famous for her role as Dorothy in the film The Wizard of Oz (1939) who I adored. Instead, I collaged the beautiful face of my dear cousin, Esther, who seemed perfect for my postmodern Dorothy Gale project.

I like to think of myself as a creator whose mind is open to being arrested at any given moment on any given day. And so Lucy Pollard-Gott’s review stopped me in my tracks to in- and exhale Dorothy into my own artistic environment. My encounters with wonderful poets and authors inspires me to take fiction beyond the moon, and beyond the rain… Lucy is one of those authors who touches the heart of my creative spirit by her literary knowledge, her kind and generous being, and her passion to share the lives of some of the most influential characters in world literature and legend. And so I thank her for inspiring me to create my Out of Oz collage.

“There is no place like home.” Dorothy Gale

 ~~~

Lucy Pollard-Gott, PhD, is author of The Fictional 100. The list of The Fictional 100 ranks the most influential fictional persons in world literature and legend, from all time periods and from all over the world, ranging from Shakespeare’s Hamlet [1] to Tomi Morrison’s Beloved [100]. Dorothy Gale ranks [83].

Lucy Pollard-Gott also on twitter as @Fictional100 and her blog at fictional100’s posterous

For some delicious dishes, please visit Esther’s Food Talk blog

the poet’s voice

Banquet Speech

William Faulkner’s speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1950

~~~

Ladies and gentlemen,

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work – a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

From Nobel LecturesLiterature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969 [Nobelprize.org]

keep walking

Keep walking,

Though there is no place to get to.

Don’t try to see through the distances.

That’s not for human beings.

Move within,

But don’t move

The way fear makes you move.

~ Rumi ~

sonnet xvii

Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

 

~Pablo Neruda~

 

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                                     i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

~E.E. Cummings~

une femme est une femme

Three days ago was a special day, it was March 3. Normally, this day would be the 62nd day of the year leaving a remaining 303 days until the end of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. However, 2012 is a leap year so March 3 was now the 63rd and not the 62nd day of our year. The reason why I remember March 3 and wish to mention it here is not because three is the magic number though it is. On this day 51 years ago the free spirited and beautiful Anna Karina married Jean-Luc Godard, a pioneer of the French New Wave. On March 3, 1961, during the filming of Une femme est une femme, they were married. Four years later in 1965 they were divorced.

Around this time of year I am drawn to remember these colourful creative talents who came together to love, collaborate, and create. Unfortunately, for only a few years. Around this time in March I am also reminded to remember the entire Nouvelle Vague, a fascinating time for lovers of the history of European art cinema. In fact, it was “an artistic movement whose influence on film has been as profound and enduring as that of surrealism or cubism on painting…” [Craig Philips in his essay French New Wave]  And so I spend time especially with images of Karina – then actress, singer, later also director, and writer – [she wrote four novels Vivre ensemble (1973); Golden City (1983); On n’achète pas le soleil (1988); and Jusqu’au bout du hasard (1998)] and with the films of Godard.

I also have the tendency to return to some of the fascinating writings of the influential French film critic and theorist, André Bazin, to his selected essays on ‘What is Cinema.’  And of course, I revisit some of the works of film critic and filmmaker, also one of the founders of the New Wave, François Truffaut. It has become my personal tradition to return to some of the great creative spirits of 1950s and 60s Paris who have influenced me in my own artistic ways. But my cinematic pilgrimage into deep focus usually takes place always in March.

Along with my image, I have selected one of my favourite book scenes of all times from the film A woman is a woman, directed by Godard and the film that won Karina the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival. I have always loved to love my books. So I happen to adore visiting Anna Karina and her books in Une femme est une femme in 1961.

 

 

AT THE EDGE of the park was a hole and above this hole was always a cloud spectrum of vibrant curing colours. This hole looked like a big rabbit hole but it was not a rabbit hole. Everyone thought it was a rabbit hole but you see, Sam knew all about the rabbit hole secret. It was not for rabbits. “Listen carefully,” he whispered to me, “for I can only tell this story about the mystery of the sea to you once.” So, I listened carefully. In fact, I grew into an excellent and eloquent listener because of my great gentle friend and storyteller, Sam. The angel of the park.

“Underneath this secret hole dwell the powers of the purple and golden waters,” Sam told me with an urgent violet look in his eyes. Sam was always wearing something blue and something purple. I learned from him that a colour has an essence and a vibration and that purple has the highest vibration in the visible spectrum.  But back to the sea story of Sam. “The purple waters lead to the golden sea where one will find the deepest part of the earth’s ocean, the place of the powers,” he said. He also explained that this was surprising because the deepest part of the world’s ocean had been charted as the Challenger Deep located in the western Pacific Ocean with measurements placed at 11.03 kilometers. “But you see, my dear Elizabeth, nobody knows that there is a seafloor with a greater depth than the Challenger Deep: the Golden Deep, my dear, the Golden Deep,” he repeated. “The deepest portion of the Golden Deep has been placed at 30.03 kilometers. But nobody knows. These waters are uncharted!”

Sam told me that the powers in these waters were extraordinary and that they were only known to those who lived inside the waters and to a very special select few who lived outside of them. “Who live inside these waters, Sam?” I asked as I clung to him imploringly. “Oh, very extraordinary spirit people, Elizabeth. The lights of love live inside these magical waters,” said he.

The lights of love! Oh, my big full eyes beaming now with curiosity. “I will reveal it to you, my dear Elizabeth, the lights of love who live inside the waters do not come from ordinary spheres of reality but from higher ones. They have special powers that extend beyond themselves and rise into the spirits of others because the depth of their love comes from this other vibrant higher water world.”

From that day forward Sam anointed my life with some of the greatest love stories known to earth: Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Orpheus and Eurydice, Paris and Helena, Héloïse d’Argenteuil and Peter Abelard and so many more. Fiction or non-fiction, it did not matter, to him the spirit of unending love could be found in all rivers that run to the same sea. And all these great lovers even after death were still living as light colours inside the Golden Deep.

II

SAM also explained that I could access the powers of the waters when I would be older and all grown up. “There will come a time when you will have a need to rekindle your childhood dreams, like you would need to rekindle an inner fire,” he told me. But I was only seven years old so I did not fully understand what he meant by ‘a need.’ I had no need to rekindle my dreams then, I was always dreaming, dreaming with my eyes open and dreaming with my eyes closed. Dreams were my higher reality, my golden appearance. “But someday you might not dream. Someday you will live in ordinary spheres of reality and no longer in the higher spheres and that might cause you to suffer and make your eyes loose their shine. You will be you but you might wish you were not. You must come then to these waters,” said he.

“You must sit here by this rabbit hole for three hours but only in the spring. After three hours, the waters will wake and out of this space will rise a force so vibrant so bright that all the cells in your body will illuminate with light. And then you will never be the same again.” “Why, what will happen to me?” I asked hesitantly yet urgently. “The law of nature will touch you. You will change! Your need will change into the face of love that will make you weep with love, and then Elizabeth, you will acquire a new visual perception of life and of love. Your spirit will be filled with a vibrant spectrum of curing colours and you will perceive your life in entirely new ways! And this extra power, which was waiting all your life in life after life for a chance to live will rise and shine.”

III

AFTER 30 years, I went back to visit the rabbit hole with my daughter who is now seven years old. We found it underneath a bunch of branches and leaves. It was the very spot where Sam’s body was found when he died from his drinking problem during the same spring when he gave me the knowledge of the great golden waters. As I was reaching for the rabbit hole, I was deeply reminded how Sam loved me like his own daughter whom he never saw after he started living in the park as an alcoholic. It was my own daughter who said that day that I had an obligation to write down this story in the hope that Sam’s daughter will read it and see the face of love in the face of her father. “And perhaps, mommy,” my daughter said, “she is in need of the purple powers because she is suffering, and her eyes have lost their colours and their shine.”

I am older now and all grown up and it is clear to me now why Sam graced me with this colourful story. He talked a great deal about colours. In fact, he was a colour philosopher who believed that the interplay of true, deep, and unending love was the interplay not of two halves of a whole but an interplay of great spectrums of lights. When he spoke of the lights of love he spoke of the nature and interplay of colours. He explained that if people could truly wake up to their own innate vibrant colour system and embrace both the light and the darkness fearlessly within, then they could acquire a new depth of knowledge, a golden knowledge, of the nature of love in the physical world.

When the all becomes too daunting and too much, I close my eyes now and become a sleeping beauty in the last sunset that fades. My essence falls into the purple powers of the golden sea and I enter into a fifth season where I dream dreams that make me forget I am dreaming, just like when I was a child. These vibrant curing colours, they turn towards me as Sam said, and they spray me with eternal love, unending love, and with spring.

Sam is in a beautiful place, I know this now, he is freedom creating powerful colour spectrums inside the most magical of all golden seas.

~~~

I dedicate this story to Stephen Stymiest 

who died on January 20, 2012 in Precita Park.

Kallisti Muse lives in a cavern beneath the Aegean Sea

Poetry by Kate58

although dimly lit
the cavern rings with sound
& her creative urges flourish
in this dwelling underground

she delights in company
yet is happy to live alone
in splendid isolation
in this cavern made of stone

in the cavern of Kallisti Muse
stalagmites shine in riotous hues
& nobody has the blues
in the cavern of Kallisti Muse

just outside the cavern
is a swift-running stream
where she catches the fishes that she eats
who’ve seen their deaths in a dream

it’s here she lives in secret
happy against all the odds
transcribing her thoughts on yellowed scrolls
propitiation to the gods

in the cavern of Kallisti Muse
you must show proof you’ve paid your dues
& after that you’re welcome to do as you choose
in the cavern of Kallisti Muse

~~~
For more of Kate58’s Kallisti Muse poems and poetry
please visit her blog  Poetry and Persistance
Thank you, Kate, for inspiring.

I know what love is

A letter found me and entered into the pores of my being. This happens, sometimes. In these moments of word illumination, I start to wonder about the nature of words and how words are like living particle beings with unique energies all of their own. How can they not be when they have powers to illuminate. In such moments, I have no words to respond to words but respond I must.

This was the process I experienced when I created this image I know what love is. It was made in response to the words written in a letter by legendary American landscape photographer Ansel Adams to his friend Cedric Wright. I do love rising letters so this one came to me by way of Letters of Notes. Upon reading these beautiful words, I closed my eyes and drifted into the arms of another language. Words now within me. In infinities of space, I know what love is…

June 19, 1937

Dear Cedric,

A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends.

For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.

Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.

Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these.

I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.

Ansel

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days ~ three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

~ John Keats, 1819 in a love letter to Fanny Brawne ~

January 12, Year 2037

~ Zaziwe’s letter of love ~

My dearest Hizkiah, 

Your letter. Your flesh. It arrived! Finally. I hold this precious piece of paper that has traveled past the stars here in my hand as I write. I am unable to let go of it. Unlike the paper, the ink has vanished though. All of it! Would you like to know where it has gone? It eroded away when the light of my own stars touched yours. The solid became liquid and slipped into me. I sipped and swallowed all the spaces where your fingers have traveled.

Downward now your words are spiraling where they are breaking down into smaller units and releasing their energy to form an entirely new star system within me. My spirit infected by your wonders, your words. Peaks of eternal light. Injections of oxygen and gravity.  My peace. The letter, the finest layers of your flesh, and the seventh element that makes up my own human body. So if you are missing your hand with it’s 27 bones, it is here inside mine in a power grip of tactile movements.

Oh Kiah, I am billions of years away from earth, more so now that I hold your letter. Incredible how light is being created on the dark side of the moon! Such inconceivable discoveries in new necks of the solar system. But do tell me how to walk here on this planet when your moon life is so immeasurably far removed from it? An alien now in my own atmosphere. A moon rock not on the moon but alone here on earth. I fell upward and then down into the void between moving stars of a foreign field. No here, there, before, or after. Life lost in uncharted spaces where earth life is unable to reach me.  Nebula now. A particle of the Pillars of Creation. Humans still see me because of the limited speed of light, but I no longer exist. I am thousands and thousands of light years away waiting to disappear into nothing.

It is your gift to discover the secret of the stars and powers on other planets.

But I can no longer stop wondering why you continue to stay wired to sustain the human race outside of it’s own planet. Why, when it means separation from the greatest forces of love and life here back home on earth for indefinitely.

If our species will cease to exist like any other species would cease to exist then let it loose its form, and perhaps it will find its way to continue in another one. Why must humankind continue as we have known it? Why do they think our safety is guaranteed on mars or the moon? Extend our life out where when our species is unable to protect and tend to the life-trees and earth’s expanding wonders and powers right here? If not on our own planet then surely we will not be able to sustain a life of liberty, beauty, and sanity outside of it. This lunar mission, I know where it will end. They are not remapping the moon. They are remapping you. They are remapping me.

I miss you. My love for you is greater than love, so how can I not long for you in all my hours? You are not a man whom I love. You are love in the form of a man. There is a difference. Abundance. Eros longing for Eros in an entirely new planetary system.

My love for you travels beyond my planets, beyond their dreams. All great poets of the earth were right. Earth, a necropolis without agape and eros. The world not a world without love.

I had a dream. It  lasted three days and my last three full nights. We traveled back in time. You were Keats and I was Fanny Brawne. When flesh touched flesh we transformed into butterflies. And then we vanished into meigetsu seifu ~ clear moon, cool breeze some 7000 light years from earth into the portals of life.

I write to you from a specular sphere reflecting uncharted colours in all kinds of cosmic directions. Because my love for you is greater than love, I look at the solar system and see you ~ butterflies everywhere. 

~ your Zaziwe