Friday, October 16, 2009

language, self, work

I hit the weather jackpot here in Berkeley.  It is gorgeous out, even warm. Yesterday I spent a few hours in the sunshine with my darling-est friend Sharline.  Last night my friend Geoff had a poetry salon at his borrowed house and a few people came over to discuss his manuscript of poetry and I did a whole lot of thinking.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm usually pretty chatty and have an opinion or comment about everything.  Last night was very different and I spent as much time observing myself as I did the group dynamic and conversation around me.  In the group discussion a very specific language was being spoken, academic and informed by years of studying the same kinds of language and how to dissect said language; and at the heart if it, poetry.  I don't speak that language of criticism or academics.  That isn't to say that I don't have critical thoughts or opinions but because of how I live and how I have lived the years when I could have been in school, my relationship to poetry and the language surrounding it is very much my own.  

Last night after the group left I mentioned to Geoff how I felt about being a kind of outsider. He was of the opinion that if I go back to school now I'll be able to adopt that language but keep what makes me Lizz. I don't know. I don't know if I want it.  I love my life and my experiences, how they've shaped me.  Maybe a part of me is a little scared of school but I'm not completely sure. I really am at peace and enjoy the physicality of my work.  Working with my body satisfies me.  Climbing ladders and scaffolding makes me happy.  At the end of each work day I have product, you can see what I've done, the progress and transformation.  I don't know that I'm ready to give that up. 

I've thought about going back to school lately, especially with there being so little work.  I have all these weird conflicting thoughts about it.  Something I'm going to have to think about for a long time. I've been out of school for a decade.  I could use the money I would spend on school traveling.  I don't want to be in debt.  Maybe these are all lame excuses.

I was having another conversation with a poet recently about physical work.  I mentioned my little philosophy of how for centuries we as humans have had very physical relationships with living; how life had in it very physical acts just so as a species we could survive the elements and ourselves. More recently in history physical labor and work haven't been as necessary; we drive, pick our fruit at markets, live in homes already built, travel sitting down. A restlessness has also risen in humans; distractions abound, extreme distraction, extreme dissatisfaction.  I think humans miss work but most aren't aware of it yet.  Biologically, we are made for work and few of us satisfy that biological need. I satisfy that need in me almost daily.  But my mind often goes hungry.

Getting back to language.  I thought for a long time last night before I finally fell into a weird sleep and strange dreams.  Do I want the language spoken around me last night?  Not really.  I'd maybe like to understand it better but I don't really want to be fluent in it.  The languages I'm fluent in are enough for me, at this point.  I'm intimate with the language of self and desire.  I'm pretty damn fluent in joy, if that makes any sense.  Rhythm and a type of meter are in my blood, gifted through the songs my parents sang to us growing up.  And Spanish of course, the language my emotions are in.  

Also, freaking small world.  Last night I sat next to a man at the salon who smelled like someone I used to love which was distracting as hell.  Chatting afterwards it turns out he knows two people I know and love.  Yes universe, you have my attention and thank you for the details.


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