A few snapshots.
Unlike photographs or portraits they’re quick, casual glances at people. My father usually cut off the subjects’ heads. I promise, at the very least, that I won’t do that.
A few days ago I met a couple who retired into travel, Spanish immersion, writing, and music. Jenna is a historian and writer; Tom is a computer scientist and mathematician. Music was the occasion for our encounter. Our mutual friend, Sally, knew they were looking for a piano player to accompany them on Handel’s sonatas for recorder and continuo. She knew that I’d said that I was practicing the piano hoping that I would someday be able to play with a group. Just play. Not perform. Sally, being Sally, ignored “someday” and decided that Jenna and Tom were a group.
So we’re going to try.
But aside from that, and even more curious, was Tom’s story of his venture into fiction. He’d never been interested in writing, he said, that is, until his Spanish instructor assigned a 250-word story in Spanish. It was a whole new experience. The flood gates opened and the stories poured out. All in Spanish. He still has no interest in writing in English. Of course, he and Jenna have speculated about why, and it’s fun to guess:
1) In a last life he was a Hispanic poet;
2) Spanish gives him the emotional distance he needs to tap that magic place fiction comes from;
3) Spanish closes the emotional distance so that he can tap that magic place fiction comes from;
4) Tom’s guess—it’s such a romantic language. That may say it all.
The other night I saw Kate for the first time in years. Kate used to sing everything from torch songs to blues to country. She cooks a mean meal in her industrial kitchen and makes jars of jam every year. She weaves. She runs one of the best nurseries in the area and does landscaping besides.
And the other night I discovered she remembered the Latin name for every plant I thought to mention when I and most of the people my age that I know find our nouns dropping out all the time. “Yeah, you know, that guy who founded our country…. name begins with G…. maybe it was George, George who? …. you know …. it’ll come back to me in a minute.”
I was impressed by the landscaping but really…. I don’t know how old Kate is but she’s not that far behind me!
In New York I had lunch and a museum trek with my friend, Nancy. She and her husband Barney have been potting and selling pots for the last two and more decades. How wonderful to grow old potting with someone you love! (I plan to do a post of them sometime soon.)
My friend, Steven Dansky, just celebrated his seventh marriage anniversary with his husband, Barry Safran. They were among the first to be married in Massachusetts. Steve has turned into very daring and very amazing photographer. He’s just finished his first (I think) novel and continues to write essays on gay liberation—the politics and the history. He’s still organizing!
Steve is in a great hurry because the decades are running out and he still has so much to do.