Quote for Today: Sarah Moriarty

 

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The four of them stand in the cockpit of the Misdemeanor as they motor from one town to another. They pass their house, which is not theirs any longer. Libby cuts the throttle, and they stall there in front of their sprawling memory. The four of them have come up for the closing; since all of them are owners, they all must be present to sign away this place. They have given most of the land to the Maine Preservation Society, and the house, they have sold to a family who promises not to tear the whole thing down, though they know that is a lie. The oak is yellow and peeks from behind the house. The glossy white windows of the great room look down upon them. It is cold and they all wear their foul-weather gear, bright-yellow slickers, except Gwen, in a red poncho to accommodate the swell of her belly. Libby keeps one hand on the tiller and the other she slips into Tom’s hand. He gives it a squeeze and then puts his arm around her. Danny moves from the stern to stand between Tom and Gwen. They all stand on the starboard side looking at the house. Libby and Tom, then Danny, his hand resting on his brother’s shoulder, and Gwen next to him, her arms crossed over her protruding belly, her hair long and dark hanging down her back. She is no longer a beacon, but a buoy in her poncho, red right returning. The sky is gray and low and promises a choppy ferry ride to the mainland, but there in the safe haven of the harbor it is calm and windless, and the house isn’t empty, but expectant. The flat water, dark green now, lies empty, the float pulled out the month before. Going from town dock to town dock, there is no need for a tender. There is no way for them to come ashore, even if they wanted to. A house like this is not supposed to exist now. It comes from another era. It is a ghost, like the schooners that sail through the thoroughfare every summer. It is an aberration, a figment. It is their great shingled memory.
Sarah Moriarty, North Haven

Public Domain Image via PxHere

The Tragedy of Roots: To a Dancer by Katherine McDaniel

Dance can circumvent words and create bonds across cultures. Could we allow the empathy it creates guide our daily lives?

Sattriya Dancer, India © Subhrajit with CCLicense

Sattriya Dancer, India
© Subhrajit with CCLicense

To a Dancer is a poem I wrote for a variety show that took place last weekend here in Houston, Mosaic Hub‘s Chocolate Soiree. It was lovely to be able to read my work for a paying audience and wonderful to be followed by a pair of wonderful dancers, Helena Tokarew and Chris Simon. Their smoldering performance gave this piece an added dimension.

In To A Dancer, a girl is mesmerized by the dance of a community alien to her own. She recognizes the energy, kindness and love embodied by a particular dancer, as well as the sense of belonging and place conferred on him by the dance. She would love to join in, but fears that her participation would be misinterpreted, both by members of her community and his.

There are so many motivations swirling under the surface of this girl. She is below the dancer’s notice, foreign to his circle, a child just beginning to feel the first surges of feminine emotion and hormones. This saves her, for now, from the embarrassment of being discovered. She is intrigued by his otherness, by the close nature of his community during the dance and by the beauty of his body. There is a sense of incipient sexuality, something which she hasn’t yet understood. If she allows herself to dream and, miraculously, her feelings are later returned, this could be the beginning of a cross culture romance.

For today she is merely a girl who would love to belong and to be able to trust. Will that trust betray her tomorrow, or will it lead her to a world in which cultures may coexist and share with one another?

Quote for Today: Dan Chaon

© Kate Hartman with CCLicense

© Kate Hartman with CCLicense

I’ve been talking to myself a lot lately. I don’t know what that’s about, but my mother was the same way. She hated to make small talk with other people, but get her into a conversation with herself and she was quite the raconteur. She would tell herself a joke and clap her hands together as she let out a laugh; she would murmur to the plants as she watered them, and offer encouragement to the food as she cooked it. Sometimes I would walk into a room and surprise her as she was regaling herself with some delightful story, and I remember how the sound would dry up in her mouth. She stood there, frozen in the headlights of my teenage scorn.

Dan ChaonStay Awake

Voice, Language and Belonging: Renee Liang’s Chinglish

© Mike Baird with CCLicense

© Mike Baird with CCLicense

Children of immigrants often feel as if they belong nowhere, that no one comprehends their unique voice. The language and customs of their parents homeland may be confining, unfamiliar and uncomfortable, while people in their own homeland see them as outsiders because of the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes or elements of their cultural heritage. Education does not take this discomfort away and may even heighten it. Only empathy and familiarity can ease it, along with a realization that by blending cultures we find both new answers and new questions. The following poem, written and recited by Renee Liang, is a wonderfully personal exploration of what it means to grow up between cultures.

Renee Liang is a pediatrician, poet, and writer of plays and fiction from New Zealand, well respected for her contributions to the arts, medicine and science. She was involved in Funky Oriental Beats, a platform for Kiwi-Asian performing artists and is a researcher for the Growing Up in New Zealand study, which focuses on successful and equitable child development. Her writings have been published in the New Zealand Listener, JAAM, Blackmail Press, Tongue in your Ear, Sidestream and Magazine, and she has written and produced three plays,  Lantern, The Bone Feeder and The First Asian AB. Liang was named a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader in 2010.

Coming of Age in Red and White: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Furisodeshon

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013 to everyone! Here’s a little eye candy and ear worm.

In Japan there is a holiday called Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day, celebrated in January. Girls who have reached the age of twenty in the past year are dressed in elaborate, long-sleeved kimonos known as furisodes, signifying their entry into adulthood and availability for marriage. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu turned twenty at the end of last month. Here she wonders what growing up will be like and imagines herself celebrating in the “adult” way, a child’s vision of smoking and drinking (and getting sick). The title of this song is Furisodeshon, or Furisode-tion. Kyary doesn’t wear the furisode here and seems somewhat loathe to grow up. She fears she will lose her dreams, although she is excited about the future. Red and white are considered an auspicious color combination in Japan, reflecting both maturity and purity.

Video via warnermusicjapan on Youtube.

Rough translation from hallyu8.com:
20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old furisode~tion

Hello, this kind of anniversary
I’m able to say “thank you” from my heart
Usually it’s embarrassing, but
It’s a once in a life time special day

Chocolate’s bitter parts
Are you an adult? Are you a child?
Because I want to have dreams forever
Go along with this rhythm

20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old furisode~tion

What am I going as far as saying “thank you” for?
I had various experiences
It’ll be good if this year is like that too
I won’t forget this excitement

To you who is always falling in love
Like the sour filling inside a shortcake
Let’s turn off the lights and light candles

20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old frisked~tion

When I become an adult, will I be happy?
When I become an adult, will I be sad?
What will I do? What will I be able to do?
Will I be unable to do more than now?

20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
Furisode~tion
Furisode~tion

We’ve featured Kyary before here.