Sunday, September 16, 2007
"Hey girl - you never got me to write a word on you."
"My bad. Here you can still do it."
I pulled out a marker (miracle of miracles that I actually had a marker on me) and handed it to her. She wrote "mami" in the crease of my arm.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
THE COLOR FULL 100:
Friday, August 24, 2007
for Ana-Maurine Lara
La tarde que beo caer sobre mi rostro
wraps you in serpentine prayer.
The Body, luminous Palimpsest
of the Divine, struggles for
peace, surprise, possibility.
Epicurean site of faith,
enigmatic Temple of the Conjurer
summoning patience from summer’s
sleeping sombras (! Hola Neko!)
Effusive with hope, I go to you,
believe the prestidigitation of vespers:
Oh, pulse of the alma,
organic candle of The Beloved,
lost in omphaloskepsis.
Forget delay: Look for grace,
Acceptance. Transition from pride,
Weakness to remember reverence,
labor, the Inquisitive ideal.
Drink in health, hope, unity.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
1. Ask a stranger to write a word on you. Take a photo.
2. Pick a word out of a book. Write a poem using it.
3. Take five words from the 98 I have received, and write a poem with any combination of them.
4. Take three words from the 98 I have received, and re-arrange their letters to create a new word - completely invented.
5. Take a word that particularly strikes you and write a poem describing why.
6. Cut and paste any of the photos to create an image collage or art piece.
7. Make visual art out of the words.
Hey how are you
[dog’s paw print]
la tarde que beo caer sobre mi rostro
Mo bá Hánnàh pàde nínú yàrá kòmpútà
I wrote a note to myself: GET A WORD!!! And so, as I sat in the computer room at the Center for African & African American Studies at UT, I jumped to do it. I turned to the woman sitting next to me. She was quietly placing an electronic clock back in her bag. Bunmi is her name. I sat with marker in hand.
"Hi...I'm doing a writing project."
She looked at me inquisitively - as an odd sort of specimen that somehow brought the landscape into focus. She smiled and agreed to write something. With pen in hand, she asked me my name, and then proceeded to write a phrase out on paper.
"Well, actually, if you could write a word on me. On my arm, if you'd like."
"On you? Oh dear."
She thought again and then rolled her chair closer to me.
"Mo bá Hánnàh pàde nínú yàrá kòmpútà" she wrote, in Yoruba.
"It means `I met Ana in the computer lab' in Yoruba." I couldn't believe it!
"The very first word I received was in Yoruba. Where are you from?"
"I'm from Oshun state, in Nigeria. Who wrote the word?"
"Wura Ogunji. Her family's from Abeokuta."
And so I pulled the blog up on the computer and showed her. Bunmi smiled. Gave me her name and thanked me.
Thank you, Bunmi.
Today's the last day of this project. That means that tomorrow, I will not run around trying to get a word. I will not have to carry a marker in my pocket. My bag. My car. Just in case. I will not be taking a photo and then scanning it in. I will not be approaching a stranger with my stock quote.
Though I'm not routine in any sort of way in any aspect of my life, I did have somewhat of a "ritual" with this project. The ritual of uttering a phrase, collecting a word, capturing it in visual form, transferring that form into something virtual, kinesthetic.
I think I'm going to miss this. Though I have traces of words everywhere in my life: the photos I've collected in a composition notebook (which by the way was supposed to have 100 sheets of paper and only had 98), words that rubbed off onto the walls of my house, my pillow cases, bed sheets, clothes. Words that echo when I run into people and we recall each other through language.
Okay - I'm getting nostalgic. It's time to quit.
I thank everyone who dared to write on me and everyone who didn't, too. I thank all the witnesses who have followed this project to its completion, and have laughed with me at some of my follies. I don't know yet know how this project has changed me, but I know I'm feeling a lot less shy these days. I'm excited to see what people do with the words I have collected. And to watch the project expand in its own sort of way.
The next posting is all of the words that have come into my life in the past 100 days. All of them. Let's see where they go.
Peace. And Love. And Hola. And Possibilities.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The first guy I asked was completely skeptical. He looked over my head and said, "Nah - I've got to go do something." I was like, "Are you sure you don't want to write ONE word? It's day 99 of 100." "Nah."
So then I went up to a woman walking in my direction. She was holding about three different bottles in her hands. Note to self - don't ask people carrying a bunch of things if they're willing to juggle them in one hand to give you a word. But, surprisingly, Melissa was open to considering it.
"Will you write a word? It's the 99th day."
"What is this for?"
"It's just a writing project. Just one word. Tomorrow's the last day." I was begging.
She looked at Wu who was standing to my right.
"Is she serious? Is it true?"
Wu nodded emphatically - "Yeah it's true!"
"So, she took the pen and wrote "Hola!"
Thank you Melissa, for making my 99th day!