Saturday, August 25, 2007
At the still point...
Over twenty years ago, I wrote a story about a woman who wakes up one day, quits her job, and takes off to Billings, Montana (because that's the destination for the father and son in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.")
Yesterday, I packed up my office, packed up a van, and did much the same thing.
The idea for the trip started off as life imitating art (although I could never have orchestrated, consciously, the fact that I'd be leaving my job on the same day as the road trip began). I am deep into the updated version of the book, and the purpose of this trip is mainly to gather some firsthand info about what exactly this part of the country looks like. So now art is going to start getting some serious feedback in turn.
For anyone who has been missing these blogs, my heartfelt apologies. I am working on the book in any spare moment and the blogs seem to only come on me when I'm out of town. Right now, however, my life is packed up, my work is in transition and my home here in this hotel room with my kids. There is only the now to concern myself about.
I hope to share as we go along.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 7:05 AM 1 comments
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Words on a Page
I was awakened this morning by a clap of thunder and the sound of water pouring out of the sky. I am again in New York and I cracked open my eyes to see it raining in pure sheets outside my open window.
As you may have gathered, I love this city. (Not this again, I see you guys rolling your eyes. Not the "oh my god I love New York so much it hurts" speech.) I'll spare you. But just know that every time I look out the window I am filled with a joy that is so deep and profound it actually worries me. Like I really am truly looking upon the face of my beloved. And how odd it is that the beloved is not a human being. Or maybe it's me really going for the unavailable again -- a promiscuous, polygamous city, 3000 miles from my home. Yes, that would just about match my patterns.
The heat and humidity is sexual though. A friend says this weather just stands outside your window and screams Stella! It stands out there in a wife-beater, biceps bulging, agonizing, laughing, moving, pounding, sticky with sex, heat and panting gasping smells and grunts and groans. You can't get away from the imagery. It is what it is.
I have been finding these incredible bulls-eye in-the-heart-of-experience moments this trip. Could be the meditation I've been adding to my life. I road the train downtown the other night after two hours of meditation and yoga, emerging from the studio high as a kite despite two very short nights of sleep.
Unable and unwilling to turn down the octane, I was able to stay dead center in the present experience all the way through the evening: The blast of the subway station as I descended into the inferno like Persephone; the rackety-rackety swaying ride on the N train downtown; the zoetrope flickering of the windows in the train racing down the tracks next to us, in perfect sync....
For the entire evening I was able to simply and exquisitely be. And the city turned on the juice in kind, providing me with exotic Omalu Capoiera martial-arts dancers in Union Square, They were standing in a circle, playing drums and strange stringed instruments, chanting in a call-and-response. The dancers performed in an improv duet of beautifully stylized martial arts forms, going up and over and through one another in flowing mock-battle, spinning on their heads, doing hand stands, primitive and surreal.
And then, this morning. My glasses off, the day not yet begun, the view out my window was blurred and veiled. The rain made a flat scrim out of the sky and all I could really make out was the water tower behind the Ambassador Theatre across the street and the various vertical edges of the buildings on either side and behind it. An achingly subtle movement of color, from sepia at the bottom of the frame, up to a dusky blue at the tope, held my attention and made my chest hurt with its beauty. It was like an ultra-refined Rothko, the change in hue imperceptible from moment to moment, but obviously carrying with it a movement from one state to the next.
The lightning flickered like a strobe light, in periodic bursts. Nestled in my cave on the 11th floor, I watch it without any fear. The city is so dense with structure, the heavens can't reach down and touch me with their violence. I look out and watch the day slowly creep through the veil, and details start to emerge like words on a page...
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 1:13 PM 1 comments