Wednesday, March 16, 2011

february log - part ii

I attended Sunday service at St Dunstan's again today for community credit. The Reverend David Marshall spoke to the congregation about transformation and translation and language, all of which have been on my mind of late, and he was right on target. He spoke about "the perfect" we are asked to achieve and what keeps us from that. He invited us to consider the things that keeps us from being perfect. He said if we wrote one obstacle to perfect down on a piece of paper and gave it to him, he would burn it in the columbarium outside and smudge it on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday in a ritual of release. Hey, this is my kind of place! I sat in my pew considering all the things, so many, that keep me from perfect. How to choose? How to condense? While the Reverend explained more about perfect and its meaning, I began to write. He said the Greek word teleioi, used in the Bible, means not perfect as we understand it in English, but rather perfect as in complete, as in brought to full development, as in becoming what we are meant to be. I could feel the translation filtering through the pews, happening in the bodies all around me, in the heart and bodies of the congregation, mostly gray-haired, but also families with children, all understanding, ahhhh, complete.

Grow Up
Then the Reverend told us about the theologian, Eugene Peterson, who wrote a colloquial translation of the Bible in which he says, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects, now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:48, The Message). Shabang! That hits home. So, of the many things that keeps me, Mimi, from being perfect, I wrote this one: fear of success. Seems a silly thing to write. I thought it was a silly thing. I second-guessed myself. I don't know if I even believe it, but that's what I wrote and now it's in the basket and soon it will be burning in the columbarium and, if I come back on Ash Wednesday, the Rev will smudge it on me thus diminishing the wedge between me and my perfect self. Ahhhh, I will say, ahhhh, I am perfect.

It's All Up From Here
After church, I went to camp and got on my bike, my blue bike of transformation, with Ovid. I rode until Monte came along, "Have you seen Susan's painting? It's really good. You should check it out." Susan was bundled up and sitting in the community tent with her notebook. I went to see. She was painting a tent with a bunch of balloons tied to it. "What does that mean?" I asked. "They're for hope. That's our tent. Have you seen the movie Up? It's good. You should see it. In the movie this old man ties balloons to his house so he can fly to the place of his dreams. That's what I want to do. I'm getting tired of all these things encroaching on me." Susan has a quick hard smile, she flashes it periodically, she's got quick hard movements, she's lively and energetic. There is a lot of joy in her. I was struck by how odd her optimism seemed here in camp. Up! Susan and her partner make a strong team. They're on their way to freedom, recovery. "Today," she said, "marks day 36 for us. We have 28 more days before we can leave." "Spring is coming," I said. "I can't wait for Spring!" And do you know, there really are balloons tied to Susan's tent, purple and white balloons in real life, tugging at her tent. Not enough to lift it, not enough for a geographic shift, but enough to suggest it. The next day the balloons were tiring and slumping and bumping on the roof, but the dream was still in place.

Saint So and So
St Francis did it. St Anthony did it. Eschewed worldly riches, sold their belongings, became mendicants for the cause. Sounds easy when you say it like that, "gave up their riches." What does that mean? What are riches? I don't know, but say security, say safety, say opportunity, and that seems hard. Say start from zero. Say no help whatsoever. Say going down. To give away everything with no path is foolish. I've given everything away before, when I saw an opportunity, when I saw a path. What I want now is freedom. What I want now are choices. I met Beatrice today, an active proponent for Nickelsville. She's terrific, probably the best advocate the homeless have in Seattle. She's a slice of 7-grain bread. If I were in charge, I would put her in charge. I'd say here, you take over, here's your salary, make it go. Here's your Get Out of Jail Card. She is firm and compassionate, passionate and capable, informed and full of vigor. But everyone here is just fighting for a place to live, so her recompense for all that is a room with a lock. That's what she's working for, that and the hope for someone else in her shoes to also find shelter when they need it. I suppose the rest of us, in the larger world, in the world at large, forget sometimes that's what we're working for, a room with a lock, stability, security, community. I suppose that's why we sometimes go out on our porches and yell "We pay to live here!" I suppose it sometimes feels to us that a house and a community are our God-given right. I see now they are not. I see now they are things we work for and nuture and hand down.

Me, I want the mountains. I want the fields. I want the ocean. I want the road. I feel afraid for all the things I have to lose and I have absolutely nothing to lose. What is it I fear? Perhaps it's what I know, my ideas, my hopes, my understanding of the way things are and could be? I will lose these things if I go through with this, the path I'm on, this spiritual path, this path to me, to self-understanding. And so what do I know and what do I own? Nothing or very little. What might I lose? Only opportunity, that alone would hurt. Other things I do not have or do not need. I've been holding on too much to my limited notion of opportunity. What does that have to do with real opportunity? What is the worth of happiness? What is the use of stability? I drove Nicolas to Bothell to get $8 from his stepdad, the dad he grew up with, so he could buy cigarettes. He couldn't wait for Monday, so I got to meet his dad and his sister, nice people, friendly. They welcomed him in and even took photos. Strange to add in the family component, the extended family piece, to this homeless equation. It makes what is broken seem more urgent and wrong. But there must be reasons, mustn't there? There must be reasons. It's not for me to say or know. Perhaps there is healing there? Perhaps the fence at TC3 is about time and space for healing, for many, for most?

Healing Art
I am an artist-in-residence at Studio Current, an experimental performance space run by Vanessa DeWolf on Capitol Hill. Every month one resident artist leads a 3-hour workshop. The workshops are attended by the other residents and involved both teaching process and dialog. I led a workshop in late December about artist-to-artist collaborations. Tonight, Jessica Jobaris led a workshop on dance as therapy. Jessica is a gifted choreographer and dancer. I saw and championed her piece, "Imagine That Everything I'm Doing Is Exactly How I Want It To Be," the year before last at Sand Point. Jessica has since been studying with Anna Halprin, one of my very first female heroes. I saw Anna's film, Breath Made Visible, at NWFF last year and was sold on her genius at once, especially on her work with the San Francisco Dancers' Workshop. Tonight, in the studio, Jessica led us through a healing practice from Anna's book Experience as Dance. First we chose a conflict in our lives, then we drew it on paper and then we danced it. We devised language around our dance and identified some key phrases or releasing movements, then drew again and then moved from that. It was an amazing experience, for me, tonight, of transformation. Again that word. It keeps coming up.

I met with Amy Mikel, Arts and Entertainment Manager for the Seattlest today. Now that I'm nearing the end of my residency at Tent City, she asked what I've learned. O when people ask that, what I've learned, what I've done, I have no answer, none, no idea. What have I done? What have I learned? What do I know? Perhaps it's too soon? Perhaps it's too much? Perhaps it's not enough? I'm going to need time, thinking, writing and talking about that before I know, understand, all that's happened to me, in me, because right now I have no idea, none. I went to bed at 4am and woke at 8am for the interview. Amy is hands down the best interviewer I have ever met, a studied, introspective, open, wise interviewer. She is the first interviewer who has asked me, at the outset, "How can I help you?" Egads! I'd never hoped to entertain such a question from an interviewer. It gave me pause. I had to think for some time, a week or more, to know what that might be, how best a reporter might help me, this project. In our lives, as artists and not artists, we are not used to being asked How can I help? Amy is just now finishing a graduate program in Library Sciences at the UW. We got deep into dialog about what Song of Tent City might be. We talked a lot about the inner landscape of the artist, of my artist. I learned a great deal about what the project means to me and might become by talking with Amy. It feels so good to begin to process it.

At this very moment, I would like to retreat from everything I know and watch water falling downstream and get close to the grass and listen for the animals stirring at night. And I am going to, when I am done with this, I am going to. Who knows, maybe by then they will have me arrested and put in debtor's prison. Maybe I will be languishing in captivity there, writing a novel about all the things I had to lose and lost, a novel that unwrites itself as you go, becomes nothing with no afterword, poof. A homeless man walked around the café just now, he went table to table asking, "Will you buy me coffee? Will you buy me coffee?" The heads were shaking. No, no, no. It is snowing outside. Shake, shake, shake. No, no, no. I said yes. His name is Trent. I gave him $5. It is snowing. Where else would he go? I am going to be a pilgrim this summer. I am going to need help, support. I am going to flash my alms bowl. How can I live at Tent City, how can I work at Tent City, and not respond to this? It is snowing and I am different. Am I? We are all dying, everyone.

Lost and Found
I saw Trent again later in Subway, the sandwich shop, or maybe it was someone younger, a man hunched and asleep in his chair. At first I walked by then I turned and went back. Perhaps I have something, some information, for him, can tell him where to go? I went in and said his name and asked, "Do you know where you are sleeping tonight? Do you know the places, the shelters in town?" He smiled and said yes. It strikes, suddenly, that what I thought was compassionate, wasn't anything more than worry. It strikes me, suddenly, that this is what I may have learned, gained, a smidgeon of compassion. If each of us walking down the street were to check in on each other, make eye contact, give a verbal check—You ok? You look lost. What do you need?— And then listen. And then maybe provide that if possible, perhaps the problem would be solved or almost solved? Perhaps. No doubt I will look back at myself, at my me now, and think later, O, I thought I had compassion, but what did I have? I had only worry. I had a worry that went nowhere. And then, perhaps, I will have gained a smidgeon of compassion from some new experience, and I will think then I was half alive now. Perhaps. We are but carbon shifting. And I am going to TC3 tonight. And it is almost over. And we will be in the church tonight. And it has been snowing all day. And I have a security to fill.

Homeless is not a decision, but pilgrim is. Nomads are back and forthers, but bums stick around. Vagabonds are acorns. Wayfarers are winged seeds. I cut fresh flowers from the garden when I was living in Tacoma, when I was house sitting and watching Hayley's chickens. I cut the sunflowers that were bent and the mallows and daisies. I put them around the house in the kitchen, in the dining room, on the deck. My mother used to bring me lilacs from our yard. She would put them on the nightstand when I was doing homework. She'd bring in a plate of grapes. It was her way of saying I approve of what you're doing now. Now that we're grown, we can do this for ourselves, approve of ourselves, of what we're doing, make small gift, love ourselves. There, in Tacoma, in late August, I was doing that. In the mornings, on the covered deck with wicker couches, I spent my mornings reading and drinking tea. I worked in the garden in the afternoons—sweeping and raking and weeding—while the chickens nosed about the yard. In the evenings, I wrote and made meals. Having a home creates a calm abiding structure, a sense freedom that invites routine.

Calm Abiding
Calm abiding structure is what is missing at Tent City. Knowing what day it is, what time it is, being able to make and keep appointments, are all struggles, even for me, at Tent City. Having good and regular sleep, feeling alert, feeling at ease, sure, clean, comfortable and confident, all of this is missing, for me, at Tent City. I remember the magnolia tree in the backyard rubbing up against the roof, the long waxy leaves rustling and dropping in the wind and in the stillness, making noise throughout the day. I slept in the spare room, the upstairs room with the little leather couch. There's nothing like being a guest in a house with clean white sheets and dark wooden furniture and books on shelves you've never seen before. It's a lure to walk into a life, such a clean white life, and rest. I miss the garden. I miss the labor. I miss having my hands in the dirt. Have I really decided I am going there tonight, to Tent City? I need rest. I will not rest there. Hmm, I will decide as I walk to the car. It is cold. Hmm, I either am or I am not doing a residency at Tent City. Ooooo!!!

I did go to Tent City and, when I arrived, I was greeted by friends. Hello Mimi! I had a good long conversation with Jim who now tells me he has other names, but I think he is also Jim. I have always called him Jim. He was in a good mood tonight. He knows everything. He knows something about everything. He's got white hair and wears a cap. He is mostly quiet and always hunched and often angry. Sometimes he has rosy cheeks. His brother is an anthropologist. His sister is a doctor. He told me, once, about losing his family or being disconnected from them, alone anyway. We have talked about many things, standing in the dark, in the evening, around the community tent. Mostly I listen. Tonight we talked about end-of-life care and happiness and reincarnation. I like the unadulterated way he talks. No excuses. No apologies. "There's no reincarnation! You wanna know what reincarnation is? Well, let me tell you, it's genetic information passed down, on and on. There's a woman in NJ who's never been out of the small town she was born in, who never went to college, but she speaks perfect French and has an detailed and accurate memory of events that took place in France centuries ago. What is that? Is that past life recall? Is that reincarnation? No, that's a memory chip. Reincarnation is being remembered after you're dead, like that story about some grandmother you knew, who was just a wise woman, but not only intellectually, she had other kinds of wisdom and stories were told about her." Jim was talking about our humanity and I believed him. I asked him how he'd like to be remembered and he said he didn't know. That was up to someone else. We only have each other, and only for a short while.

On Waking
I grabbed my sleeping bag from my tent and went to the church. It's 22F with a lacing of snow. The puddles are frozen. I slept for 2 hours, did a security from 2-3am, then slept from 3-6am. Lights on!! How bizarre to hear Daren's voice in the morning, "Good morning, Mimi." I slept in the front row, on a pew, with my head under the covers for another half hour then left. The woman at the front desk looks spent. She looks so tired. Her replacement didn't show, so she's working overtime, hours after she was supposed to be off. All the other ECs who might have come to relieve her were also up until 4am or were next in line for work, so on she works. The commitment of the ECs, in the face of everything they have to endure and lose, is always surprising and always encouraging. The duty they show to the camp and their post is Napoleonic. And last night, I had a biscuit. Dinner was gone except for the biscuits. The fried chicken was gone. The mashed potatoes were gone. I saw a second tray of chicken behind the line, but if you go behind the line you'll get a permanent bar, so I ate crumbs. There were lots of crumbs. I heated them up and ate them with my hands. Yum.

Nice Vs Necessary
My mom has funny ways of showing she loves me. Six years ago she got me an i-pod for Christmas. I was in graduate school in New York City and struggling to make ends meet. I thought it was too big a present to be getting me. I have trouble with inequity, like not having money for the subway and owning an i-pod. How do you mesh details like that? I had trouble making sense of that. She also got me an electric toothbrush. I rejected both of those gifts. No, I accepted them with a sigh. Ugh, but I like the simple mechanics of a toothbrush! I gave the toothbrush to a friend. Now I think they're great. Now I think they clean your teeth a lot better than manual brushes, but then I was soo sooo poor. I was poverty stricken in NYC and poverty was all around and the sounds of machines were everywhere and I wasn't wanting an i-pod. I was wanting to hear and see everything around me just as it was. I didn't open the i-pod for a year. When was I going to use it? Where? I wouldn't think of blocking out the city sounds. I wouldn't use walking or biking, no, no, too important to hear those taxi horns. So I put it in a drawer and moved it with me wherever I moved. I used it for the first time this January, for the Song of Tent City show at Tether Gallery, to play the artist collaborations. I borrowed speakers from a friend and played the audio files on a loop on my i-pod. I was hoping it might one day be useful in this way and it was. At long last, thank you Mom!

The Night Jewel of Jackets
She got me two coats the winter before, a black Columbia jacket and a classic wool coat with a belt. The jacket was the kind ice climbers wear, with sealed seams and velcro closures and double zips everywhere. I never wore when I lived it in NYC even though it got into the teens and minus zero with the wind chill. When bums ask you for a quarter and you're wearing a jacket like that, what do you say, "I don't have any money?" But then I couldn't get rid of it because it was expensive and my Mom gave it to me so I carried it around for years and years. Burdens. Now that I'm at Tent City, seven years later, I'm wearing it for the first time. Someone said, the other day, "Nice jacket! Good jackets make a difference. Good jacket keeps you from getting wet," and all those feelings came back. My jacket is nicer than any jacket around. Everything I'm wearing is from the Goodwill, except that jacket. I have on the night jewel of jackets. I stood firm and tall and said, "My mom got it for me. It is a nice jacket. Someone stole the fleece liner, but the shell is still nice." And that's all. I moved on. At that moment I realized, and much more fully, how family keeps us, kept me, from falling in the gutter, which for most is terrible news (to fall) or terrific news (to be saved) except for the poet who might long for the gutter, who might wish to fall. Thank you, Mom.

A Different Place
I told Jim last night that we were all dying and he said, "That's right and if you can keep that in mind, if people kept that in mind, the world would be a different place." He's a wise man. He was spot on last night, spot on target. It makes me realize how all those people out there are so much more informed, so much smarter than I ever gave give them credit for. All those people know so much more about their situation than most of us do about ours, because they are out there, right up against it, seeing it all first hand, feeling life in live time, things we'll never see or feel or know. It's a tragedy or it's a release, it's one of the two or it's both. Either way, it's a terrible tragedy. If you are honest with yourself and the people around you, no one can take anything from you or hold anything over you. It seems impossible to be dishonest here, at Tent City. When I go away for my hermitage, when I splinter off into the unnamed woods, I will see what kind of honesty lives out there, in the solitary self. Tonight is the mandatory camp meeting. I hope to sign up for the security I owe. I need one more this week and two litter busters. The Wednesday and Thursday sheets are already full. The Friday sheet comes out at 9pm. I've got to get in line after the meeting and get on that list. I want to get through this.

I did a church security last night from 1-2am. When I saw the guy who was going to replace me go down to the bathroom, I asked him where he was sleeping so I could find him when it was time. He wasn't on the map. He told me, "I can't do a security. I'm sick." I said "Everyone who stays in he church does a security. You're signed up from 2-3am." He said, "I'll get my girlfriend to do it." Cringe! Later in the night, a woman came out to smoke. We say hello and I figured out it was the girlfriend of the guy I spoke to earlier. She said, "Yeah, he's sick. I'll do his security." I said, "I can split it with you." She's got her own security to pull. She's new. She hasn't got a clue about camp life. I can see they aren't going to last. I can always see that. And it aggravates me to see the women in the partnerships bear the brunt. I have seen that in other couples, her running around doing all the work and him copping attitude. That doesn't fly in camp for me. So I pulled a Mimi trick and sat all three securities, mine and his and hers, then went to bed at 4am. In the morning, while we were returning to camp, I saw them walking through the strawberry islands so I warned them not to do that, they obviously hadn't been told. He grunted and grumbled, "What can we do?!" There are couples where the guy takes care of everything and the girl acts helpless. It works both ways, I know. Either way it's not attractive and, at Tent City, all the unattractive things seem even more unattractive, because, just because, but the snooooow is lovely and, as with sailing, being up all night while everyone else is asleep is peaceful and free. It's a way of buying time. I think to myself, this is allll mine, ahhh! I took pictures of the snow and the sky this morning and the junkyard dog said, "She's taking pictures so she can write more mean things about us," which was frictive but I've got some sympathy for her now. She's been talking less. I see her struggle. She could be as beautiful as anyone, will be as beautiful as everyone, one day. Perhaps we all will be. Even me.

I told Nicholas I was worried about him. I asked him when he was going to clean up his act and get his life together. He said, "I need a girlfriend to spend all my time with so I don't get in trouble." You'd have to hear the voice. It's scratchy from smoking and slurs a bit and wavers a bit from the head injury, but it's lively and buoyant and simultaneously jovial and deviant. It always makes me smile. He could be such a beautiful guy, by which I mean happy and free. I said, "I don't think it works that way. I think you clean up first then the woman comes." He smiled and put his head to one and said, "That's what my dad says." I told him he had a beautiful life ahead of him if he wanted it. I so believe that. He's got a family who wants him back. He's got to make a choice.

A Blue-footed Duck
Since Nicholas is the kind of person who will say "Goodnight Mimi" across church pews, I asked, "Are you going to tell us a goodnight story?" And he did. I couldn't understand most of it, but when I realized he was going for a Scottish accent, I understood that he was telling a joke about flip, the flop, the Scottish guy's kilt and the sisters with the blue ribbon. I've heard it before. And that was goodnight. Hah! After running back to the security desk twice, I came in to sleep and Nicholas said, "Mimi, tell me a goodnight story." I told him an ornate tale about a group of people stuck in the snow who find a church. I told him about the blue-footed duck that followed them into the church, whispered things, and the sensitive young French man who listened to the duck and how the secrets of the blue-footed duck began to infect the group and how the group also began to whisper the same whispers in their sleep and how none of them knew the other knew it but how it came out as a song one day as they were hiking up the mountain to find a passageway and how this song was what opened the mountain top when they were stuck in the cave and though there was no hope and then, when the mountaintop opened, how they could see all the way to the green valley below where they are going to be safe. The end. The junkyard dog came in before I was done and I thought for sure she was going to tell me to shut up because she doesn't like me, but she didn't because she respects Nicholas. Ah well, my feet are cold. There is a lot of good to see in the world, even here, even here. Unhappy people require more time, more space. You can better see their good if you step away. It's the difference between mud-deep in TC3 and aggravated and oppressed and being grass-deep in Meadowbrook and at ease and caring. It is going to be 19F tonight!

I lost my buffer this month. I have $700 in my account and rent is due, which means it'll be month-to-month after this. No more buffer. Return to start. Zero out. And there's no guaranteed income on my horizon. I have one job at the end of the month, which pays $250, and a week of dog-sitting and two days of office cleaning and four days of house cleaning, but that's it. Scrape, scrape. And so this is me being the artist before becoming the janitor or the circus girl, which brings us to one of the most beautiful lines in the history of poetry, "The Circus girls are rushing through the night" by Kenneth Koch. And that's everything to me. And so I'll be fine.

My new favorite spot is first pew, left side. They turn out the lights on you and everyone settles in. You have to get up some time in the middle of the night to do a security, to sit in the lobby with a bright yellow vest on, looking official, looking like you might be able to handle whatever walks in, the devil himself if he happened to show up. There is a young guy in camp that has my brother's same name. His girlfriend is always coughing. She's got dark hair and hollow cheeks. They are both awfully nice and fun and probably in their 20s. What are they doing here? When I said I was cold he said, "If you want to be warm, you need a tent-mate and a ton of blankets." Young and wise. If you want to know how to be warm, ask a homeless person. If you want to know how to run a homeless camp, ask the homeless. If you want to help the homeless, ask them what they need and want. Doing anything else is self-serving. We all have the need to give, to appease our shame. It is possible to do both by beginning with ears and a question. And once there was a woman on wheels with cracked eyeglasses who had a dog. They rolled together, from city to city, getting barred first from one then the next place, but the dog looked warm. It had thick orange fur and ate human food. On Sunday, this Sunday, when I am done with Tent City, I'm going to curse and drink, not because I love to , but because I am not allowed to and that makes me want to. Rebel.

Holy Sleeping
I walked down 35th to 105th picking up trash at 11:30pm. I had a litter buster to complete before midnight. Not until my turn-around point did my hands start warming up from the work. I kept shoving them in my pockets. It was a very cold night. I ate a pint of cous cous salad and drank out of the faucet before I went to bed. The meal was fine, but I did not enjoy it. Foodschmood! I know I need food. I need food. I know. I went into the church and started on the floor by the piano. I'm not sure if I slept. The floor trembles when people walk by. Because it was so cold, there were more people inside. The floor trembled all night. Once you decide to welcome the noises, they become affecters, positive sensations. Sometimes I let them. After a good long while of looking and listening, my eyes at foot level, I felt like Andrei on the battlefield in War and Peace, I felt like I was on a battlefield, looking over at Imhotep and Patricia, then the other way to Summer, experiencing small waves of divine love for everyone I saw, through all the small annoyances of flashlights and plastic bags and heavier footfall and throat clearing and belches and foul smells. I moved up onto a pew before morning, let myself be cradled in the slope of it. The pew was the more comfortable of the two. Darren woke us up again with quickly rising lights. "Come on, Mimi, you gotta get up!" He knocks on pews and stomps on floors. He was in the military. Now we all are. I'm in a stupor. There is a grant due today. I should have written it. At 2pm I go back to do a last, group, litter sweep of the neighborhood, then take my magic blue transforming bike away.

Piling Up
I'm in my office now. There's so much to do, it's around me in piles. Don't I have a right to be tired, to refuse all this? I was supposed to be on a hermitage in January, nourishing my artist, after two years of endless scraping to make rent, to find work, I was supposed to be renewing. My first hermitage was to be in Mexico at Lake Patzcuaro. O! Peter the Painter in Seattle has an uncle there with land who agreed to let me hermitize it for a month. So I renewed my passport. So I got an International ID Card. Pricey little items. And I was ready to roll. Richie, my brother, was waiting in the wings, to purchase the ticket for my Christmas gift, but along came that damned performers insurance and I was required to purchase it. I'd gotten a grant from 4Culture for "Studies in Everything" and needed to show proof of insurance. Most artists are working with venues that have insurance that covers them, but I was out on the streets, in the parks. It seemed ridiculous at first, to pay $250 for an event in a public park that wouldn't collect anymore than three people in any one place. It stunned me at first, the insurance company said it would cost $500. I sort of lost my mind that night. I couldn't sleep. My mind was racing. After that, I didn't think I had the money to do it, to go to Mexico, to afford rent in January and February, and then a picture of Tent City blew in—crinkle crink—and a different path opened up, a sliding board to poverty and transformation. I wouldn't take it back, no, not at all, but still I need the hermitage. My artist needs a break. April. In April I will go.

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