My eye was more taken by the flowering of a wild plant on an old tannery wall – my first photo stop yesterday morning. At the foot of the hill, a man who has self-designated as photo assistant pointed out a flowering rosebush near the market square. “Nobody knows where those roses came from,” he told me. “Nobody knows how long before the petals fall off,” he added when I didn’t look inclined to stop and click. So, I stopped and clicked The Miracle of the Flowering Rosebush. Of course, my photo assistant wanted to know if I’d caught photos of the white water rat yet. Yes indeed, I said.
More unexpected photo ops in front of my place of work. A book delivery at home; but first, an unknown young man pops his head out the window, a few houses down from where I live to start a conversation.
I stop there. The whole day was one of smaller and larger incidents, some running in parallels, others converging; in all cases, setting up patterns the mind itches to understand. Why this incident at this moment? What is relevant, what isn’t? How does the story flow? Whereto? Whose story? And so on.
The book: a gift in more ways than one. I’ll come back to it at some other time. Stopped reading at the end of page 49 last night. Dreams followed – how could they not?
The problem, as always, being one of choices. What to cull, what to develop further, story-wise. Then, back to real life: what is useful for this boy going on thirteen vs this other one vs this third boy in the same age group? Complicated lives. How best to find and make use of the patterns in them? The first boy faces the daunting task of forging his own creation myths since no one wants to tell him how or why he was brought to this country in the first place. Yesterday afternoon, we played with words printed on bits of cardboard; choosing five at random and making up sentences with them. Useless sentences, for the most part, until one set of words inspired a powerful image. As an exercise, I then had him write a short letter based on this image. He chose to write a letter to Romain Gary, telling him his cousin was the child of a Greek god and would Monsieur Gary be so kind as to write up his cousin’s story and have it printed.
“Have you read anything by Romain Gary?” I asked him. No, but he’d read about him, he said.