threads of flow
In September, my project was me — focusing on me. It was surprisingly hard to not get distracted. I persisted, and by the end of the month, I had sort of a groove on, so I continued it into October, with a twist:
Face the abyss.
Both in the sense of all the scary things I normally avoid and in the sense of “the fertile void”.
I fasted from books for 10 days, hoping for clarity.
But I need books for companionship, so I’m back reading.
I’ve started listening to music again. (Except for occasionally listening to the radio when I’m driving, I essentially stopped listening to music for 5 years.)
(That also cut way down on the time I spent dancing.)
At the time I stopped, it happened sort of organically — I was depressed, my iPod stopped working, it was too much bother to figure out how to fix the situation. I assumed I would start up again when I got livelier, except that I didn’t.
It’s been weird.
Before 2010, if I had to describe myself in one word, it would’ve been “dancing”. (I doubt anyone who knows me, though, would realize that.)
So, if you stop doing the thing that’s most you, who are you? That’s what I’ve been finding out.
I began thinking of myself as a poet only after I wasn’t a dancer anymore. I’ve realized my poetry has an odd sense of rhythm, which I put down to being an indifferent musician, but now I think there’s more to it.
The 6 months I was seeing P last year got me back in touch with my body, while I cleared out so many of my past traumas stored away somatically. But it didn’t really get me dancing.
I read about dancing, I thought about it. I imagined doing it.
It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve realized I want to dance. That is, I miss dancing.
It took 5 years away from it to… get it out of my system? Re-discover that it should be part of me again?
That’s how “glacially slow” some of my thoughts & feelings develop, make themselves known to me.
Going through an old notebook of Morning Pages, from 2010 as it happens, I found a line in Spanglish that probably came from a dream. I was trying to say quiero sentir, which I believe means ‘I want to feel’.
When I wondered why I would’ve been dreaming in Spanish 5 years ago, I remembered that 2010 was when I was volunteering in Annapolis, and would listen to DC’s Spanish language music station on the long drive down. I started doing that because I wanted to refresh my language skills, but also… I wanted to get the rhythms of the spoken words into my blood and breath.
Tuesday, I had this weird thought: what if I wrote a poem in English so that I could translate it into Albanian? I have an Albanian–English dictionary, which would be very crude I know, but I follow a bunch of translators on Twitter. Maybe I could find someone who’s fluent in Albanian, and could correct my wrong verb endings or whatever. Maybe there’s idioms that would fit whatever I was trying to say.
And then… I could translate it back into English.
I’m attached to the Albanian–English dictionary, but the Albanian language itself is not highly emotionally charged for me, like Lithuanian and Spanish are.
I do have one poem that’s bilingual in English and Spanish, but it’s a cento, so the translation was done by the translator of the original work.
What would I want to say in Albanian that I can’t say in English? Well, secrets. Albanian could hold my secrets safe for me.
I don’t know which secrets however.
I recently read a book that profiled a UN interpreter. That was my dream job when I was a teenager.
Foundered because I wasn’t fluent in enough languages, which is a whole other rant, but… now that I know I’m autistic, it’s exceedingly clear that I could never ever ever have done that job. YOU CAN’T LIP-READ to check when tones and syllables get dropped — you’re having to do everything from the audio. French (or Chinese or Arabic) is said, and you, the interpreter, respond with the verbiage in English. In real time. They work in pairs, and do 30 minute shifts because it’s unbelievably taxing cognitively.
So I can let that dream die.
BUT I can translate poetry. Nobody can stop me from doing it.
Last visit to the library, I impulsively checked out a book with audio CD on Farsi. Thinking I may listen to it in the car, just to get a sense of the rhythms of it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it spoken, but I’ve been interested in Iran since high school. (Had a crush on a cute guy who was born there.)
Have been waffling for months about the water monitoring conference next month. If I don’t register by 10/30, the price jumps.
Just yesterday read about an interesting talk in Baltimore City, also next month, about the history of our sewer system. It’s free, so I’ll likely be attending that one. It’s at a wastewater treatment plant!
There’s a line of poetry I wrote a while back which seemed to apply to Indiana, but now I see it applies to a lot of other things too:
I had to leave it to love it.
Dance. Spanish, and other languages. Waste water.