Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Orleans 13.3.1994: Wild Synchronicities, A Room of One's Own

At New Orleans airport, waiting for our flight and bathing in glorious sunshine over my shoulders, from the high clear windows and sparsely clouded blue sky.

Wondering how one becomes a cloister to oneself, a reserve of green peace and recollection in which a fountain flows quietly, unobtrusively, regenerating all around it even when the world beyond the walls is mere chaos. A not inappropriate question in the madness that is New Orleans, the insanity that is New Orleans Catholicism. . . .

What does it all mean? Over and over in our days in New Orleans, it has been that experience about which I’ve been writing—circles of my life overlapping with and opening onto other circles.

E.g., Sean D. asked Steve if he can share our story with Luis C. Ralph went to high school with Luis in Concord . . . . Would anyone reading this journal even realize how wildly coincidental all this is?

Also, Bill A. and Stan K. both mentioned Jean M. and her trip to Russia—less coincidental, but nonetheless striking. (Bill does hilarious imitations of Jean M. talking about needing new dripes for her parlor. Doesn't totally remove the pain from her ugly behavior towards me on that trip, but it does allow me to put it into perspective.)

And on Thursday, we had coffee with Clarita R., who recommended I write Bard College for a job—a place I’d never heard of. That night at supper, Stan K. referred to Bard; then before bedtime, I read James Merrill’s memoir, A Different Person, and came on a passage about—yep, Bard College.

What does it all mean? Or does it have to mean? Why did R., the Trinitarian with whom Bill A. lives, and whom Landrum picked up in Audubon Park, mention Kyle S. last night?

I feel I could develop mad, crazed theories to account for all this synchronicity. Or I can simply live in the current producing these eddies. My fear about the latter is that all insight and enthusiasm seems immediately to be swallowed up by the everyday, once I return to it.

I have to think I’m in a moment of extraordinary grace, whose contours I simply cannot discern. In such a moment, we must pray to be like those paper things that catch wind and sing.

Writing, my heart tells me, is key to all this. We went to Beckham’s Books yesterday, and Cary B. and his partner Alton C. almost begged us to return to New Orleans, though we hardly know them. They’ve bought a house two blocks from our Dorgenois house.

Somehow, this stirred in me again that deep, deep sense that I’m to write. I want so much to have time, space, freedom, to write. If I have that, I feel nothing can stop me: it’ll pour out.

Time/space/freedom from the church and the persona I’ve been forced to adopt as a gay theologian who sees and can’t say what he sees, in this structure. I just don’t want to babble it anymore, or be inside it. If anything, I want to look on it all with wry, amused irony.

(If the church comes to me, after I’ve written, and lets me be me, and teach from that vantage point, well, then . . . .)

Time/space/freedom: money. I need it with an almost physical hunger. Never thought I’d feel this way; it’s so crassly materialistic. But I need it to buy the freedom from the material that I need in order to write, to be free of crippling anxiety, to have a secure place, to be surrounded by some peace and beauty and tranquility, to be free to travel. And yet what fantasies! As if what we need drops down from heaven as we need it.

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