I might’ve mentioned before that I’m currently working on a memoir project: Put Me in the River.
I’m typing up my hand-written draft. It’s a bit of a slow process, but fairly satisfying once I’m done with a chapter. Chapter four is done so far, Platform Number Four. Please feel free to read my very drafty and sketchy notes on it. (My apologies in advance for the typos and many grammar mistakes)
Organizing workshops is one of my art practices. I set different workshops for different age groups. If they’re older than sixteen, I encourage them to write. I talk about storytelling, creating characters, and I tell them all the benefits of writing letters to friends and family in hopes that they too send away letters. For younger kids, I prefer crafting, mainly for the language barrier. I visit small towns and villages, where finding a common language might be a bit challenging; you don’t really need to speak in any certain language when you work with scissors and glue and paper.
It was the second month of winter. Cold, very snowy, rather dark, and pretty much blue. I’d been living in my art-residency for over a month by that point, and I was already used to my new surroundings, new home, and new routines. Every little thing was new, every idea or experience was happening for the first time. Unlike my other art-residency experiences, I was absolutely clueless about where I was going, or what this trip was going to be like, which I believe only added up to the excitement of the journey. The first few days were taken up by my investigation, discovering my new location, the house, and the town, or I’d better say the village. Not much was going on. There was a captivating Gothic church in the center of the town, and a supermarket next to it. I found a cafe in front of the post office, but realized that the cafe was open only during the lunch hours, which was a bit disappointing. No bars, or someplace where I could go, take a break, or meet new people. I accepted the fact, and went with the flow.
It was a year ago that I finally decided to try a water-fast for
myself, and experiment the practice of not eating anything for a few days. I
was curious to see how it was to be empty on the inside. The plan was to keep
my fast for three days, and if I felt good about myself, I’d go for as long as
I could. At that point, I’d already been familiar with the concept of fasting.
I’m from a Muslim country, so dry-fasting happens once every year throughout
the month of Ramadan. I’d even fasted for a couple times when I was very young,
eight or nine years old. My dry-fast, back then, was not motivated by any
religious causes, none at all. I was only eight years old, what could I
possibly know about religion anyhow?! I fasted because our school would
organize an Iftar ceremony every year, which is the evening meal to end the
fast at sunset, and all the students would be invited. Most of my other
classmates were fasting, and I felt I needed to fast as well in order to earn
the pleasure of that meal. From what I remember, it was hard not to eat,
especially in the afternoon once I was back home from school. I was hungry, but
mostly thirsty. The severe thirst wouldn’t allow me to concentrate on my
homework; I believe I napped until the sunset. I only fasted like that for a
couple years, though. I guess I grew up, and found those traditions to be
irrelevant to my personal culture.
I saw you in my dream last night. You were standing far away from me in the middle of a blizzard. You were surrounded by other people that I knew in the dream, but in reality, those people don’t even exist; they were supposedly our friends. You were wearing your everyday clothes. Were you not cold?! You must’ve been. But, it was only a dream. I’ve probably missed you a lot, really wanted to see you even if it was from a great distance, so that’s how you showed up in my dream. You started to turn into someone else as I walked closer to you. In the end, you were completely transformed into another person, somebody I knew in the dream, but nonexistent in any realit. However, something got me quite confused. At some point, I was speaking to someone about twins and triplets, small children, about young grownups taking care of new babies. I just don’t know if I had this conversation in reality, or was I repeating myself in my dream.
We entered the church before midnight. The ceremony had already started when we got there, and we were the last ones. We certainly were an odd combination, and most definitely not fitting in: two non-believers, and a half-believer. The priest was giving his speech, of course, in a language that none of us could understood. I looked around the room curiously. I had always passed by the church, and wondered what it looked like on the inside. So there I was, sitting inside the church with other residents of the town.
The mission was to explore downtown in only a few hours, it was a day trip after all. Hiten and I walked along the alleys, saw something in a corner or by the end of the path, so we’d switch directions. A satisfying lunch was on the list too, a trip would be incomplete without a good lunch. We visited churches, passed by ancient walls, visited more churches; these towns are all about churches. One thing that I hadn’t estimated about this short trip was how much I was going to laugh and enjoy myself. I’ve probably told you about it already that Hiten is one of the most humorous people I’ve ever met. She’s so hilarious that she almost makes me pee my pants, almost! We walked around, and laughed out loud at her comments, and things she talked about. My voice echoed all over the place. After a certain point, whatever she said sounded funny to me, I couldn’t stop laughing. How lucky of me to have a wonderful friend like her!
The landscape is covered with olive trees, and huge farms of solar panels; great use for a sunny land like this. There are small forests here and there, and I see some empty lands as we pass by the road. The olive trees are full of olives, it must be the harvesting season. Somebody should come and collect these, I thought. Sara explained to me later that there are machines for that purpose; they strip the tree in no time. She drew our attention to the trees with broken branches; the machine does it to them. Are the trees dead?!
It’s cold, and I have no other choice but to put up with it. I keep telling myself that it will hopefully be a couple more months of winter, and then the spring will arrive. The voice in my head goes back to the last spring and the very brief summer, but then I sing a song to keep the voice quiet. Seems like it’s a friendly way of life saying that it’s hard all the way through; it never gets easy.
Naya said to me the other day that you need to make up activities for yourself in small towns and villages like this. That’s true! We went out the other night to watch the meteor shower. Quite an activity, huh?! Guess where?! From up the hill, again. It wasn’t really a shower though, or perhaps we just missed its peak. I checked online for the exact hour, but you know how time works differently all over the Earth. I must’ve miss calculated.READ MORE