I love your idea about our Senses ... the possibility of reclaiming of the only things that truly make-up our lives? Touch. Taste. A sense of balance, perpendicular to the earth, in vrksasana.
And then, reading that there may be as many as 21 senses. I was quietly delighted.
I think my senses are my way of negotiating this world. Hunting for the light, and really tasting all that I eat and drink. I am so particular. Listening, as I wander ... to the extent that I can't bear to have anything playing in my ears. Not music, not interviews. I want to hear all that is going on around me.
The idea that there are more 'senses' than I already knew about... Yes. That delights me.
I am so sorry to read of your corset of sorts. The breathing ... it doesn't surprise me as a response to Now. I'm surprised not to be suffering more from it but I have theories on why I'm calmer than I've ever been ... calmer at a conscious level anyway.
I have mostly stepped away from the protests being organised around the world. I have this idea that my role is always to be something like the canary in the coalmine - to be there at the start, sharing from various sources. People are discussing it now, protesting it. They don't need my voice.
Is that a cop out? I don't feel like it is. I want to grow strong for whatever is next.
I'm not sure I understand why you were shamed, silenced and confused about the short life of a woman's son ... mostly because you stepped away from the insanity so long ago. It's not who you are. And even if you were there, you would be fighting for human rights, not acting in ways that were shameful.
You are ... I was going to write international but it's more than that ... you are whatever we become when we live in countries not our own and begin to understand the fluid nature of things like identity, belonging, nationality.
You came from that country but you left it. You didn't go 'home' when you could have. You keep choosing, when so many float. I see no need for your shame.
I'm skim-reading social media these days but it remains my point of contact with family and friends and so, I remain online. I have lost interest in newspapers. During the American elections, at some point, I realised that no one gave me a clear sense of what was 'really' happening, and I wanted 'really'. Then again, I'm not sure anyone knows anymore ... nor have they ever. Everyone has a 'position' but that's about all I am sure of.
I smiled when I read of your yoga and meditation ... that squeezing of another peaceful half-hour of life in case the world ends. Wise woman.
You know, I actually made myself buy a light novel the other day. It was so incredibly difficult. I've become quite the snob ... a brat perhaps, about books. Actually, about coffee, wine and food too. I think I was always this way but I'm becoming more comfortable with it all. No apologies. If I'm spending money, I don't want to waste it on things I don't like.
I wanted to lose myself somewhere and the lighter, well-written, novel has always done that for me. I couldn't quite go to Danielle Steele but it was on that end of the scale. And yes, for the days that it lasted, it was fun to 'escape'. To pick up on the clues there for the reader ... to be right. I finished it last night, sad that it was over. I'm not sure what to read next.
My room has piles of books scattered around it. Not as many as I would have liked came with me but there are more than I hoped for. I shall have to dip back into something from there I think. Biographies, fictional biographies too. I found a set of fictions based on the lives of Hemmingway's wives. I loved those. I have never read Hemmingway, just books about his life.
When I look at my books, and compare them to the lives I've lived ... I see that perhaps I've been searching for 'tribe' in my reading. I never found them while I was growing up, those people who would have shone a light, guiding me into my life. Role models like Katherine Mansfield weren't mentioned in school. War photographers and journalists, I had no idea about them. I see how both would have appealed, mostly because I suspect you find real life out there, in those wars. It's more difficult to find 'real' in the suburbs I spent more than a few years living in.
There were no strong role models in my world. Now I see what I could have been, if I were awake, or awakened, way back then.
I wish I could write the reality of my life here, the stuff that remains private. It's both beautiful and difficult out here. The padding, or cushioning, has gone. But the freedom to do whatever I please is divine. I'm learning to sleep in. I'm learning not to think of others when deciding on anything. I'm learning ... a lot.
I suspect I am good at selecting which stories I tell. There's only so much I can expose without feeling raw and undone and so, my stories must be selected and yes, told truly but not all stories are told. But I've probably written that before. It's a bit of an issue in my life. I would like to be transparent but I've always been private ... more so than people realise.
I love my new home, and my landlords who have opened up a corner of their home for me. They make me laugh, so often, and their kindness undoes me sometimes. And yes, sometimes I do float home after a night in this city of musicians. Actually, going 'up' I ride the ancient elevator. Currently I only float down the marble staircase. I had another run-in with anemia. Neglect ...
You know, I had never thought of my life as a triangle consisting of a social life, creativity, and the personal. Thank you for the gift of that description. I see that my creative life has suffered from needing to earn a stable income. My social life comes and goes. My personal life ...I'm learning what that is. I had never considered it before. I was almost always part of a family ... and so, to have the freedom to create my very own personal life ... it's kind of divine. I think I'm old enough to do it this time.
Initially, like an orphaned kitten, I wanted a home and a life. A fire to curl up beside. Someone to care for me ... someone for me to care about. But that has passed. I was fortunate not to find anyone in those terribly lost and lonely days. I felt like the Little Match Girl for a while, nose pressed against windows ... wistfully watching people whose lives were 'normal'. Instead, I suspect I've been given the freedom and the space to become who I would have become if I hadn't been asked to play small all my life. But yes, that's under construction, let's see how it goes.
That student of yours ... I was horrified too but I think I see it in Italy. Not the age limit on success but the belief that one must put aside childish things ... passions, to be 'successful'. It breaks my heart a little. I think, in the future, people won't believe how we put 'a successful career', as defined by society, before personal happiness and the pursuit of a full life.
Do you allow yourself to believe that your life sucessful, Di?
I think I do believe my life has been successful, so far. My idea is that I will die rich in stories. And that's okay. I would rather be full of stories. I like the way I have lived this life of mine so far. I have been fortunate, in so many ways. Country of birth, husbands, opportunities, friends ... yes, fortunate in so many ways.
I'm glad you experience life as meaningful of its own sake. Of itself
I suspect you might be surprised how your 'teenagers' view you. I'm sure you have changed lives, or been a strong example to those who needed it. I'm sure they listen too. The way you turn up in the world is special. I promise. And so worthy of respect, and love.
Thank you for the ideas and images you gifted me in your letter. I will carry them with me, as usual, adding them to the 'Notes to Myself' story I have going on in my head.
I wandered out onto the terrace here, in the palazzo I call home for the moment, and spent some time writing but the sun was so strong that I could barely see my screen. I ended up leaning back in my chair and simply bathing in the heat for a while. I'm still glowing. I need to go wandering again, before losing the light.
I have so much still to do, and a nap appeals too. Weekends are so complicated ... they're free time and yet, with so much to be done, I feel a very real sense of panic on my two days off.
And so the real world seeped into me as I wrote this, and now I feel I must hurry off and 'do' those things waiting to be done.
I hope your weekend was divine. I'm adding some photographs taken over the last 24 hours ...
Much love, Di
This is one of a series of public letters to Ren – a friend, a writer, a poet, and an extraordinary woman who writes to me via her own blog.
Please click through to her website: Ren Powell: Poetics & The Good Life