BE-TRAY-AL swimming through the deep waves breaking.
Writing & Wanderlust
JP Reads, first launched in the fall of 2012, is a community-wide literary celebration that joins together the Jamaica Plain (JP) neighborhood of Boston to read a single book by hosting an author talk, varied events and shared discussions addressing themes in the book. This year the volunteer Advisory Board, composed of Jamaica Plain residents with representation from JP’s libraries and community organizations, have chosen Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction. Miller worked as a teacher of Greek and Latin as she wrote the book. The novel, set in Greece, re-imagines Homer’s classic, The Iliad by exploring the love story between Patroclus and Achilles.
Last Sunday, JP Reads and Social Artists & Writers hosted the first-ever free Silent(ish) Reading Party at the Loring-Greenough House located on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. The Loring-Greenough House was constructed in 1760 by Commodore Loring and owned by the Greenough family from 1783 until 1924. The Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club purchased the house in 1924 and has remained the steward ever since. The Silent(ish) Reading Party was one of many social, cultural, historical and educational activities that has been hosted by the House since 2008.
All who attended the party were invited to enjoy the sunny window seats, cozy chairs and plush carpets in the historic house. Participants could bring any book they wanted to read though copies of The Song of Achilles, the Iliad, and related books on Greece and mythology were available. Everyone also circled through the kitchen at least once during the afternoon for a warm drink, some home-made treats and to ask a fellow book-lover, “What are you reading?”
“In October, we moved into a larger apartment in a triple-decker on a treeless, trash-strewn block miles from any hope of gentrification. With no furniture to fill the empty spaces, we stacked your books to make a coffee table and scattered pillows across the floor. When summer rolled around again and the utility bills eased, we used our extra cash to buy second-hand furniture or repair the cast-offs we scavenged from the street. You bought a marked-down coffee maker with a timer so that we could linger longer in bed. Most weekends we forgot all about it until we smelled the coffee burning.”
-Excerpt from “One Coffee to Go” by Debka Colson published in Issue 3 of GAMBA Zine, February 2015
Excerpt from “Namaste” by Debka Colson. Photo by Tara Colson Leaning. For the rest of the story, see: http://www.passingthroughjournal.com/#!debka-colson-and-tara-colson-leaning/c1gmz
About Passing Through Journal (from the website):
“Started as a xeroxed zine in the mid-1990s, Passing Through has evolved into an online collaboration between art and writing that seeks to capture, twice a year, the transient nature of our lives. Passing Through was originally intended as a printed venue for travelers to share their stories about daring and uncommon ways of travel, but its current intention is to focus on the collaborative aspect between art and writing with a similar thematic element.
The ‘road less traveled,’ however interpreted, is a significant aspect of this journal, as is movement, intersections, wanderlust , nomadic people, tucked away corners, cities, odd homes, scratch-on-the-map towns, wildernesses, and rites of passage.
Writing is concise, around 350 words per page, with a preference for nonfiction. The art tells a story on its own, but is something new when placed next to creative writing. Writers and artists work separately, and the editor brings the two together, but sometimes the art and writing come from the same person.”
I have been divorced twice and in love more times than I dare to admit. My mother has been married to the same man for over 60 years.
I grow older and the road narrows. I have fewer choices now than I once did and some possibilities will never be open to me. When I was young, I couldn’t imagine staying with the same person for my entire life. At the other end of experience, I now wish I knew what it was like to love and be loved for a lifetime.
A dear friend told me recently that she thinks we must always give up a part of ourselves to be with another. I agree and yet, how do you know when you’ve crossed the line and given up too much?
There are clues, though it seems many of us are very good at ignoring them. Last night I told my two adolescent girls about the caged canaries that workers would carry with them into the coal mines. If lethal gases were present the canary would die before the gases killed the miners. My canary is creativity. When I feel no urge to create, when the images and the words and the ideas no longer fill me up and flow out with joy, I know I have entered dangerous territory. One’s body and soul needs to be fed to create.
Falling in love feeds the soul, but new love– that wild romantic erotic love– never lives forever. It survives best on mystery and secrets, projection and illusion. It is Neptunian and lovely and, often, quite deceptive. So what do old lovers know that I don’t? How did they manage to traverse that heady early terrain to reach the solid ground they stand on? Surely they must also encounter weeks or months or years when they feel they have given up too much. How do they recapture the parts of themselves that they have lost without also sacrificing their love?
I am listening to my creativity. It has been breathless for too long. It’s time to nurture it back to full voice, to full song.