Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blog swap: Silver Sands of St. Augustine

I would love to introduce y'all to my lovely friend Ama. She is one of the most bewitching girls I have known. We are kindred spirits and I have always looked up to her because she is an amazing writer. Trust me, this girl will woo you with her words. Her blog is a favorite stop of mine and I think that you will enjoy it too. Today, we are doing a little swap, so please head on over to her place and read my post. I put my heart and soul into this one. Come on, give my girl some serious lovin'.

Hi, I'm Ama, thrilled to be guest posting with a blog switch with lovely Leigh.Leigh and I first met when we were in our mid-twenties.We called Leigh "Lil' Magic" for her famous dance routines, though I never had the pleasure to witness her much-talked-about performances. What I remember most about Leigh is that she really is one of the most child-like people I've ever met, and I mean that in the best way possible, not the "she's special" kind of way. I remember her lovely wedding, and I remember her filmmaker friend recording my drunken blessing for she and her husband's wedding video. I hope she doesn't. Anyway. I had heard she'd had children, but it wasn't until she introduced me to her hilarious and touching blog that I'd found out what a wonderful, happy mama she is. It's been about seven years since I've seen Leigh, and boy, we have both grown up a whole lot.

She asked that I simply write about what I write about and share on my own blog, which is a whole lot of stuff, but most of it spirals around a few central themes: writing, inspiration, healing and growth--all very personal, treated basically like a personal journal. So in the vein of motherhood that she is graciously sharing on my blog, Silver Sands of St. Augustine, and in the vein of what I most offer in that place, I am going back to the story, as I have been told about it and of course with a writer's privilege of imagination, of my own entrance into this beautiful world.


Just There

I was a turning engine in my daddy's head before I was born. I spoke from far away to him in a voice I would not for years possess. He heard my flesh before it slid into the elements of oxygen, ready to burst forth all brand new and untouched by any of what was to come. So small but so quick and strong, I came into the world too fast for my his 16-millimeter camera, too fast for the midwife, too fast for my mother's jasmine tea.

Even before birth, someone is predicting our arrival, someone already knows what kind of singing will carry our bones along.

Me at Three-Years-Old

La Traviata put me to sleep in the womb, to keep me from kicking. All summer long tragedy spun from the dusty old record player on Otis street, in Berkley, California, where I was born. Voices rich like waves would rise and break in crescendos, whispered secrets in another language, crashing a life story into my blood.

The truth is, my mother says, what makes everything beautiful is underneath and deep, like the ocean. And what makes that beloved opera so beautiful is the music, an under-the-surface passion that holds true no matter what the story is. That's why she cried and she knew the story anyway, even though all its telling words were foreign. That's why I fell asleep so easily, breathing and pulsing with my mother's blood and my own just as I still do today, speaking with a voice my father heard before I was born.

My Beautiful Mama Before She Was a Mama at All

My mother tells me that she just wanted some hot tea when she was in labor with me. She says that her back hurt and that she wanted my father to rub her back a little, to0--but that was all. My father rubbed her back, went to the kitchen to boil the water for tea.

I was on my way before he had time to return from the kitchen, racing to their bedroom, where I was born, at 8 o'clock in the morning, in August. My older brother, three-years-old, held the tripod and the camera before the filming began, waited for someone to tell him to let go.

All of a sudden he said, he heard crying, screaming, and thought his mommy was hurt, wondering what this tiny little creature was doing, this tiny little creature getting all the attention, while he expectantly held that old camera, doing his job, waiting for someone to tell him to put it down.

Me at Two, My Cousin Joy, and My Brother Joshu at Five

No one did. The kettle boiled, steam rising in the high-ceiling kitchen, and "all of a sudden," my father tells me, "you were just there. Eyes locked on me tight. Bright, aware. I remember it so vividly, and those eyes have never changed."

My Dad These Days

We are all ghosts, though, even as we are born anew. Ghosts are memories, real as anything else. Everything we collect in life amounts to spirit, which is life. Even love and knowledge become ghosts in the end--ephemeral, impermanent, infinite.

Me These Days

Ghosts are living things, are the voices of that day, of all my living, that walk through me and with me each day. Within me I have collected the ghosts of others, and the ghosts of who I used to be--they spill forth in the morning and at night, too--in the quiet spaces of conversation, and they carry me. They are the singing in my bones.


R Montalban said...

Wow, that was quite a read - really enjoyed it.

Sue said...

Well done!

I'll have to check out your blog.


karen said...

Love it, Amasita. Now I must go read Leigh's on your blog.