Thursday, May 20, 2004

old journals

i was flipping through an old faded journal i've had for a while- this one is different than most, in that i usually just write through a journal and then pick up a fresh, blank one, and write through that. this one, however, has been with me for years. i've taken it on a lot of trips, taken notes in it in class, and stuffed it full of clippings and pictures and post-its and mementos.

looking through it two nights ago, deciding whether there was enough space left in it to merit taking it to bangkok, i found some interesting things. one of them is an entry i wrote on march 6, 1997. i was 19. taher read it and said i should blog it, so here it is. it's nothing if not fanciful, but i like it all the same:

Every once in a while i meet someone who i know is in tune to the incredible magic that is all around us- *magic* is so tangible. i used to think that if magic could be seen, it would look like the delicious curls of smoke that spiral around the room when you wave a stick of incense. but i've revised that. i think magic CAN be seen. at the washington stop, for example, there's this musician who creates magic. he plays everything from jazz (ella, even!) to the blues to the crazy rockin' oldies. and all of the jaded urbanites tap their feet and are slowly (but surely) drawn into a circle around him- and you find yourself smiling at the people around you, and suddenly the cold el stop is transformed into a warm and friendly and fun place, everyone united by this man. it's not his talent that does this- it's his presence. he plays the crowd. he infuses the air with... magic.

everyone has a passion. but i think it is beautiful when your passion involves finding the magic and hanging it out to people. some poets try hard to be deep through abstraction- they end up being dishonest and counterproductive. instead of giving people a way to see what they see, instead of letting them in, they're shutting them out.

poetry is opening your eyes and heart and soul to the magic. and then simply describing, honestly, what you found and saw and felt and received, most of all received.

when it's honest and unfiltered, it shines. it pierces right into a person's heart- they share your vision while they read your words. you have infused them with what i can only call magic. positive or negative, naive or cynical, realistic or fanciful, a poem is magical when it is honest- when it describes what you learned when you looked around, eyes wide open.

reading this over, i feel like replacing every occurrence of the word "poem" with the word "art". because now, looking back, i think that's what i was trying to say. and of course i have learned in the last six years that my medium of choice is prose rather than poetry. narrative rather than rhythm. but the sentiment is the same.

all of this reminds me that taher has been tinkering with photography lately - i see a lot of what i'm saying above, in the pictures he is trying to take. as a writer, i tend to find myself thinking about how i would write up a situation i am in- i see it through words sometimes even as i am living it. i cannot wait until taher begins to do that with photography- till his lens becomes his eye.