The Tribe at Waterfire

The moon was fat and floating in a bed of pink but it was overshadowed by Irene Lawrence, Cassandra Tribe and Judith Tolnick-Champa discussing book prologues. Irene had sent a request to a famous writer, asking that he consider writing an introduction to her book, Judith had been on the telephone for an hour wih another writer who wanted Judith to write an introduction for HER book, Cassandra had a couple of books under her belt and so had insightful suggestions for both Judith and Irene, and I just sat there and ate macaroni salad thinking about my unfinished book- still stuffed inside a cardboard box in my closet.  It was no matter to me. The three powerful women sitting in my apartment under the July 4th moon made me feel momentarily irrelevent, joyously so. Irrelevence is the cure for hubris, and I have found that my “artists agenda” has lately taken me far from genuine curiosity, clear observation, life “as is” –  for its own sake.  In an over-processed world, I over-process myself and my work- striving to be a pulsing, thriving mission statement instead of a woman eating macaroni before pushing a doggie stroller down the street to Waterfire.

I think too much. I process too little. Last night, after taking a picture of the bulbous swooning moon, and listening to the smart girls figure out how to manuever themselves through another creative pin-hole, I wanted to stop thinking. I wanted to simply “be” without being somebody. Just breathe and eat macaroni salad. The salad was pretty good because I put double pesto sauce on it and high quality parmesean cheese, and the girls seemed to like it. But then Irene gave me a painting. It was so beautiful, so real, as I gripped it in both hands, and thought, mine…mine…why? — I wanted to leave and reenter the room as another me, the me I could be when I cared and in caring could manifest a masterpiece of equal worth.

Cassandra was discussing ways to multiply blog readership numbers, Judith was discussing the critical nature of the literary interview, Irene answered a question about her use of linen canvas.  It was stimulating, valuable information. It was just the way I wanted my living room to buzz.  But I was tired. In fact, I realized I had been tired for about ten years, from about the time I’d abandoned the book to the cardboard box.

We walked to Waterfire. The moon followed us as the sky darkened and the fires were orange, spurting blurs of warmth that shown on hundreds of tired faces and the faces were upturned to the fires, eyes closed. The moon shone on the water, and hundreds of people were walking and laughing or sitting and leaning against each other, eyes closed. The mile of Water fires, 80 odd blazing signatures of one man, moved the night and took everyone with them and we were all floating under the dry white moon, and I think everyone was remembering, at the same time, that we had nowhere to go and nothing we really had to do.


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