vendredi 13 novembre 2009

Sam becomes un artiste civique

The wonder of fire starters

and no rain for a couple days

I was standing by the burning pile, watching the leaves I had finished raking by night, using the force and sliding in the piles of dog doo my Jedi skills aren't developed enough to detect without light, go up in thick smoke, when the huge lower gate slid open on its tracks. I hadn't heard the scooter. It's much quieter with the new exhaust pipe.


"Hi, Sam!" I was glad to hear his voice. I had dreamed terrible, terrible things this morning, things about him, and then about me.

In my dream, I walked into his room that was not his real room and saw the top part of his window that was not his real window down, but he was nowhere. I looked down out his window, and he was lying on the concrete below. Concrete that doesn't exist under his real window. He was wearing blue. Sky blue. It was much farther than the distance to the ground below his real window. Then, I was next to him. He was alive, and I was asking why, why had he done that? I cradled his head to me, knowing I shouldn't touch him, but I had to. He was crying. The dream went on. I don't remember it all. He did things he wouldn't do in life, risk taking behaviors that aren't like him, but everything a parent fears. His oldest half-brother told me that he smokes. I had to believe him. "How do you know?" I asked.

"I saw him. He smoked a cigarette with me." It wasn't the smoking that upset me; it was that he felt he had to tell me an untruth.

But he was here, and that was a dream. I had read the story of Juda Agyemang, the 13-year-old who jumped from his 21st story balcony in Tracey Towers after being sent home from his Catholic school for not paying attention and failing to finish an assignment. For not being "himself". His mother saw him as he hurtled to the ground when she went to look for him.

"She was inconsolable," said the article . Of course she was. We all are for her. I dream of her and Juda becomes my son.

"Are you supposed to be burning things now?" He meant at this time of the year. I know my son.

"Yes, it's alright."

"Isn't it only in the spring?"

"No, Sam. It's before and after certain dates. It's okay now, but the village would appreciate your civic sense. How was your day?" He emerged from the darkness between where we park the scooter and the bikes into the light of the bonfire. Guy Fawkes, a little late.

"Depressing. I thought of my scenario, though." He decided to do the film option on the baccalaureate exams when he learned that photography is not an option for the Académie de Versailles, or the school district for Les Yvelines, our département. This did not please him. He had also selected art history, thinking that I could get him up to speed. I was very flattered but dubious. It was a lot. He has since dropped art history.

I breathe freer again.

"I had two hours for lunch, and I was feeling depressed about everything: life, school, France. Then, the idea came to me. It's an American who comes to visit Paris with a list of all the things he wants to do, visit the Eiffel Tower, ride a boat on the Seine, see his idealized Paris, but what happens is that he experiences Paris as it is; he is pushed around by the racailles ("punks" in French, a term loving used by the French president -- and everyone who is not themselves a racaille -- to describe the youth of the ghetto), witnesses two youth who run away from the café table next to him rather than pay their bill and gets yelled at in French by the waiter for not doing anything. He meets reality. He could pull out a list at the end of everything he wants to do in Rome, as though it will be different. I want you to feel his sense of how everything disappoints, even from his childhood."

"Sam, you have become French." I asked if he were keeping notes of these ideas and his criticism and development of them.

"Yeah, on my iPhone, in "notes". It's where I write my ideas for my book and my photographs. My friend says I remind her of her father."

"How so?" I figured she didn't mean that he bosses her around all the time and makes her come home too early from parties and get off her iPhone to go work.

"He passed his bac and did law, the worst years of his life, before he wrote a book, of which they made a film that was really successful. It's on Canal+ sometimes. And, then he finished by going into advertising. He also contributed to the screenplay for, and here he mentioned a film I knew, but which escapes me. I want to say it's the one where the French woman brings her NYC boyfriend back to Paris with her to live, and he just doesn't get Paris, but I think he actually mentioned that kind of person for the main person of his 10 minute short. "I'm starving," he said, heading up the stairs, "and it's time to go see everything I don't know about philosophy."

He has a big test tomorrow, an essay exam, only he says that he hasn't a clue how you argue what you don't know.

I looked back into my fire. He is also becoming an artist, I thought. The artist he is.

I smiled.
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