Monday, September 22, 2008

The Eden on Congress St.

She liked to curl up in the lap of their crossfire.

It didn’t matter what was said. Those three guys knew how to talk, and she knew how to listen.

Sitting on the fringes, yes, but that was all right. She didn’t trust herself to keep up with them. It was a gift of sorts to observe. Besides, they wanted to make her laugh, and she was happy enough to oblige. For these poets and friends were a little smarter, and far funnier, than any trinity she had ever known. And in that dank hole of a living room, with its stuffed ashtrays and sooty carpet, they invented new, more absurd maths.

New…all so new. And not so always comfortable. She loved the man in the center of the room, but everything around him was so different from what came before. He was different, too. And so her time in this house triggered a meltdown of false expectations, a Picasso breach of perspective, a spinning dance. Sometimes, her eyes hurt from the whiplash.

(And weeks later, it would indeed become the car crash on Congress Street. All of the friends limping away, hugging bruised egos and hearts.)

But right then—right at this green-go convergence of crossroads—there was Chet Baker wetting the stereo, Carl Jung to consult on the coffee table, and a whole bible of words to smoke and burn before the happy warriors scattered into the night.

She listened. Night after night.

And even though she wouldn’t pick up her own pen until much later, she sometimes thinks that these were the weeks in which she became a writer.


*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

A beautiful insight into the life of a great writer.I think I know who she is ;)

Have a great week dear :)

Beth said...

Hi. I haven't seen you in a bit, but hoping you'll stop by my blog not to comment or chat, but to see the topic, which is really important. Thanks.

Aine said...

Wow, Sarah! This is amazing-- this could be the start of a novel. Seriously! It makes me want to know much more.

You are so talented. Trust yourself. To capture such a defining moment with perfect skill is uncommon.

You are making me reflect on friendship moments in my life. And on moments when I sat on the fringe observing something as you did. Wondering if those involved were aware of what their togetherness created. Craving to be a part of it, but knowing that I couldn't be. That would ruin the perfect balance and hold them back as I would inevitably lag behind.

I became very good at observing and wishing. But I realize that I also was part of such a group entity on several occasions through my life. It's funny that when you are part of one it doesn't seem so perfect or awe inspiring from the inside. It just feels natural and fun.

It is so bittersweet to look back. Why can't perfection last forever? Can it be recreated?

Charles Gramlich said...

Cool. Great writing and I loved the ending. You made a wonderful point here.

Sarah Hina said...

Sameera, you might have an inkling. ;) And thanks for the kind words, as always.

Beth, I have still been checking out your blog through a feedreader. Sorry that I've been lax about commenting. A very important topic, indeed.

Aine, thank you. :)

I wanted to nail down more specifics, but know my mind for detail. ;)

That kind of perfect storm is impossible to recreate. I think in this case, everyone knew it was a special confluence of time and people, but didn't necessarily believe it its end.

I'm glad you've known both perspectives (being an observer, and part of the group), too. And you're right about that longing when on the outside. Luckily, I think we've managed to create our own special circle of give and take. And I'm so grateful for it. :)

Charles, thanks. I think the freedom of this time period, and its wide open possibilities, had a lasting impact. The world seemed new again. And me, too.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful and inspired tribute. And insight. I felt the magic woven there. I also felt the magic you still carry and grow within you.

And wonderful photo!! It took me a few moments to decide how you did it. You did an awesome job staying still. Not an easy feat.

Sarah Hina said...

Jason, I did enjoy doing something more imaginative with a photo. It was only a 2 s. exposure, so staying still wasn't too demanding. Thank goodness for the remote. :)

And thank you about the tribute! I owe a lot to that awakening. And to ones that would come much later.

Pete said...

Hi Sarah, got your link from Sameera site. You are good writer. Nice site. Putting you in my reader list. Cheers!

Sarah Hina said...

Pete, I'm so glad you stopped by! Sameera has a great site. I'm happy you found something to like here. :)

Will check out your blog soon! And I appreciate being added to your list.

Ello said...

That was absolutely lovely. Sigh. See you made me sigh. I loved it.

Jaye Wells said...

Sarah, you amaze me. You paint pictures with words and you have such a talent for evoking mood. I belonged to group like this once, too--both participant and observer. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Sarah Hina said...

Hello, Ello! (sorry, had to do it) :)

Thanks for the sigh! Now I know I did my job. ;)

Jaye, you're welcome! Being an observer and participant are different, of course, but both experiences inspire growth, and both have their advantages.

Vesper said...

Just beautiful, Sarah... You captured the essence... And, yes, you had to become a writer...

ChrisEldin said...

You are the master of mood, Sarah. I agree with Jaye.
Always, always I think (in my heart, where the truest thoughts are)--I knew her when...

This is such a beautiful piece.

Sarah Hina said...

Vesper, it's strange to think that the seed was always there. It just took some careful cultivation. Thank you!

Chris, that's one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me. Really, I'm very touched.

It makes me want to go write a :)

Mystique Wanderer said...

i always love a story that forms a vision in the mind :)

nice use of expression...

asb said...

Nice. I almost feel like I was there.
Really, though, seriously, good stuff.

We each of us hate most of the time we hear our own voice.
But I think self-loathing may be the worst sin of them all.

We die each time the morning comes,
and I’m sure the jet-black coffee doesn’t help at my age…