Ethan Hawke gave talk at TED about creativity, and this part took my breath away …
Do you think human creativity matters? Well, hmm. Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about poetry. Is not it? They have to live their lives and they don’t really care so much about Allen Ginsberg’s songs or anyone’s songs until their father dies, they go to a funeral, you lose a child, someone breaks your heart, they don’t love you anymore, and suddenly, you desperately want to understand the meaning of this life and, ‘Has anyone ever felt this bad before? How did they get out of this cloud? ‘
Or vice versa – something great. You meet someone and your heart explodes. You love them so much you can’t even see them. You know, you’re dizzy. ‘Has anyone felt this way before? What’s happening to me? ‘And then art is not a luxury, it’s actually subsistence. We need.
My motherThe husband is 95 years old (26 years older than her) and thinks a lot about death and dying. She loves this song that she says she feels seen at this stage of her life:
– Billy Collins
We ended up on the couch last night
trying to remember
all the friends who have died so far,
and I wrote them down this morning
in alphabetical order
on the other side of the shopping list
which you left on the kitchen table.
So many of them were swept away
like a hand from heaven,
it was good to recall them,
under the cold lights of the supermarket
while I was driving a wheelchair with a wobbly wheel
up and down long steep passages.
I was looking for blueberries,
English muffins, linguines, thick cream,
light bulbs, apples, Canadian bacon,
and anything else that was on the list,
which I managed to keep the groceries facing up,
until I went through the electric door,
where I paused to realize,
as I flipped through the list,
that I forgot Terry O’Shea
as well as bananas and bread.
Until then, it was pouring,
spillage, as they say in Ireland,
people spraying across the plot next to their cars.
And then I set off,
walking slowly and precisely,
carrying grocery bags,
walking as in a procession honoring the dead.
I felt I owed it to Terry,
who was such a strong painter,
because I almost forgot him
and all the others that formed
a circle around him on the screen in my head.
I was walking slower now
in the presence of compassion
the dead stretched out to each other,
plus I was in no hurry to return
to the kitchen, where I would have to tell you
all about Terry, bananas and bread.
The second time poetry was important to me was during my wedding. I wanted so much to express my depths of feeling, but it all seemed a stalemate. Do. At our ceremony, our friend Kenan he read Hafiz’s “Our Alliance,” which made me cry; and my father read this years later when I went through depression, which also made me cry!
Our union is like this: You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket to cover my shaky legs. / Hunger enters your body, so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes. / You have asked for a few words of comfort and guidance, and I quickly kneel beside you, offering you a whole book as a gift. / One night your loneliness hurts so much that you cry, and I say that this is a rope, tie it around me, I will be your life companion.
Parenting can also turn your world and poet upside down Kate baer – mother of four children – deeply understands this disorientation.
Dear husband. Dear lover. My dear
heart. No, I don’t want to attend the barbecue
scheduled cruelly during naptime. I do not want
go to the recital. Can you tell your sister?
and that? I saw you dancing in the morning
our daughter and for a moment I almost cried.
I hate it when people say I almost cried. Why even
to mention at all?
When will you be home? At what time
do you think you might be home? What time should they be?
let’s wait for you outside on the lawn while the pasta
boils and the baby cries because he misses you?
Oh, before I leave – when will you be home?
Sometimes I wonder what would happen to you
died and I had to write a hymn while getting lost in my own
sadness. What would I say? And who would take it out
trash cans on dark Sunday evenings or keep ours
children while crying from a dream about fever?
When will you be home?
And while some songs make you feel understandable, others help you understand the people around you.
It’s not cold enough
to go borrow some firewood
From a neighbor.
Oh, my heart. What songs have resonated in your life? I wish I loved to hear.
(Photo by Chris Pizzello. Via Kottke.)