Nostalgia: The Poetess at Green Lake
Yesterday I walked the 4 miles to Green Lake from lower Queen Anne. I took the direct route, along Aurora and over the bridge, which does not cross a cascading stream, but spans a ship canal. Trip trap went the bridge. And when I had nearly crossed over, I came to the place where the troll lives and heard his roar, "Who is that tripping over my bridge?" To which I called, "Please, there are poets of greater significance just a few years away. Wait and you will have plenty to eat."
Beyond the bridge, I climbed the hillside past the rose garden and Woodland Zoo.
When I reached the lake, I walked around to the theatre, to the library, the elementary school and community center, I even went into private businesses, telling the community about my project, asking for help. I need a small bit of storage for my desk and chair. Can anyone help?
After explaining my project to ten Green Lake establishments, someone finally said yes. Cindy, the manager at PCC (a natural food store), barely a minute into my speech said, "Yes," pointing, "Will your desk fit in there?" And so I shall keep my desk in Cindy's office, 2 blocks from the lake and walk it to the north end of the Aurora strip.
Thus begins NOSTALGIA: The Poetess at Green Lake, for which I will sit 8 hours a day, one day a week (Sundays), at a wooden table, writing, thinking and observing - general poet's work. People do not see, sense or know enough about the poet's work. What the poet is doing, for the community, for the public. Every poet. The ones you hear about and the ones you don't. I propose to embody the every poet - to make my work a symbol for all poets working (by which I mean every person's poet - you the poet, your neighbor the poet, your mother, daughter, banker the poet...). By doing so, I hope to encourage people to experience the poet's work for themselves, to search for truth in the human spirit.
Anyway, it all sounds lofty and it might be nice until the rain sets in. And then it will get dark and windy. Cold. But it is the first "yes" I have gotten and so I must hold onto it. And in a year, when my Sundays are spent, I will have formed community. With effort, over time, I will have completed a cycle, finished a journal. Possibly even rekindled my spirit.
I am taking the term Nostalgia from an Andrei Tarkovsky film [Nostaghia]. It refers to that universal place, that homeland we seek, that place we long to come home to, the human spirit. Something the poet embodies. Something modern man has pushed aside for the less the fulfilling concerns of sexuality, psychology, material goods.
I wonder if anyone will notice at all? It will be a difficult thing to be entirely ignored. It will be equally difficult to be interrupted all day. I want simply to observe. I want to write. I want to sit quietly astride life. To be a symbol. Some talking will be good. Some recognition. But also quiet time.
I sided with Seurat and chose Sunday as my day in the park. When I told Lauren about my project, she gave me information on a Seattle artist who just finished a year-long project called "Little Brown Dress." The artist wore a brown dress every day for a year. She had a website to which she posted thoughts and pictures. In the final months, her project became quite popular. Now she's being radio interviewed. On her 30th birthday, this Friday, she will publicly take off the dress at ConWorks in Seattle. Her project is a response to gender issues, the fashion industry and sweat shops.
I've been carefully weighing the idea of casting this log to the net. While I intend the project to be a living and local event, I want it to be far reaching as well. But I do not want to send myself or my public to a computer screen. I want us to spend more time in the world. With one another. Dialoguing.