Photo by e3000
Sometimes death teaches more about life than what's on my computer.
After almost four months without a word from me, it's time to answer those gentle nudges of "Where are you?" What's going on with your blog?" I've been getting.
First, again, thank you for asking. I am grateful and, as they say, humbled that not only do people actually read this little red thing of mine, but even notice when it's gone.
But it needed to be. It has become abundantly clear that I needed to focus on my non-blog life.
Or should I say catalysts, because it's rarely just one thing that causes change in our lives.
This past July while in New York, we learned from a friend of ours in Bocas del Toro that our old landlord Cher, a really lovely woman, had been murdered. By a serial killer. It almost sounds like a joke, but clearly, it's not funny. Not in the least.
Then, when I got back to Argentina after Burning Man, I learned that another friend of ours from Salta, Diego, had also been murdered. I don't really understand what happened. Apart from some vague intimations about it being a gay-related crime, that the murderer was an exotic dancer.... Quite frankly, that's when I stopped listening. Those details aren't the core of the matter. It is more that a really decent person is now dead for no reason at all.
It really fucks with a girl's head, you know?
I Wanted To Blog, I Really Did But...
I stopped writing soon after I heard about Cher's murder. Since then, the idea of writing about what was going on in my head just felt wrong, but to write about something else seemed forced and a waste of my time. I’d rather paint with Lila or hang with Noah or do something altogether different.
So that's what I did.
I Don't Want To Be Too Late For What's Most Important
With all the traveling, running around, trying to develop programs, meeting people and posting, I felt I never had time for anything. My life too often felt like a massive unfinished to-do list and I was always working to reach a constantly moving horizon.
If I continued like that, I would miss out on my real world. So I had to let go of the online world for a while.
My hits were at an all time high when I stopped writing, and I’ve watched them fall, fall fall, as well as watched how my connections with many of the people I know online have faded. That has been hard to see.
But I had intended give Diego a call and get together sometime, soon. By the time I got around to it, I was too late. I don't want to say the same about Lila or Noah or the other people who are most important to me. I want to be truly present in their lives and mine.
Making A Commitment To Real Life & Community
This week, Noah and I will sign the papers to buy a house here in Salta. It will be our home, yes, but it will also be a community center for traveling artists, writers and teachers. (And will be filmed for an upcoming episode of House Hunters International. We're even flying to NY in February to do some filming there.)
So far, we’ve formed connections with local universities and non-profit organizations. We plan to use the internet and social media as a tool to connect students between countries, allowing them to share their work with each other as well as with bring in international artists, writers and photographers, travelers and educators.
The goal of our program, though, goes beyond a creative exchange to an initiative to teach English, keep students in school and ultimately improve their economic prospects by connecting them with an international community.
We just finished our first semester working with 12 year olds at the experimental high school that is a part of the Universidad Nacional de Salta (la UNSa). Next year, we’ll work with the same group of students, incorporate online and gallery exhibitions of art and photography and are working to begin teaching at the two local universities of Salta.
Does This Mean We Will Be In Salta Forever?
It is unsettling to think of being settled. It is overwhelming, too, to commit to one place after being on the move for almost five years.
The underlying assumption of our program is that since it is based on the people, the needs and the soul of Salta, it will not need us permanently to continue growing. We are here until our work here is finished;then we will move on.
Paper Mache Butterfly Wings and Walks By the River
Along the way of designing the project, I stopped to design paper mache butterfly wings with Lila. We picked dandelions by the side of the river flowing near our house. I stepped away from the to-do long enough to start weekly belly dancing classes with a really fabulous teacher. Someone who will be teaching as part of our community center.
And maybe, just maybe, I've learned a bit to accept that the most important thing I want to realize in this life of mine is how to be patient and not be too attached to any one outcome, because the bottom line is you never know what happens next.