On an Island

“Odysseus asked to spend eternity making his way from a war indefinitely far in the past to an island indefinitely far in the future.”

I’m presently on an island. I’m sitting on the dock of the Fish House, reading The Lost Books of the Odyssey. A pelican drops scissor-like into the sea. A pair of dolphins are breaking and breathing and arcing in the channel. The same ones, perhaps who awakened the photographer who was sleeping here the other night, woke her at 4 AM. To be awakened by dolphins! That’s the magic of this place, Captiva, where I am in residence with a group of ten other painters, dancers, writers, performers.

Walking back through the jungle to our cottage at dusk from the dance studio with Susan, we’re talking about how we began making theater together years ago, returning to our sources. I’d just read aloud to her a poem by Robert Creeley, “Histoire du Florida,” about age, that ends: “Come out, while there’s still time to play.”

Then a bobcat lopes across our path, taking our breath away.

Captiva is where Bob Rauschenberg lived and worked for decades, and his compound—with studios and houses, lawns and jungle– is now, thanks to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, being opened up as an artist residency program. We’re the pilot residency (hey it’s a difficult job, but someone’s gotta do it), helping to tweak the studios and the protocol so that generations of artists after us will create here in these remarkable spaces.

Reading in Calvin Tompkin’s Off The Wall, about Bob’s trip to India, the sight of a golden sari trailing in mud made him realize: “that everything is relative, that everything is acceptable , and that you don’t need to be afraid of beauty either.”

which applies, I think, to this vision from the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, from yesterday:

IMG_8747

5 Responses to “On an Island”

  1. Larry Steinman Says:

    Captiva-vating!!

    Greetings from subzero MT

    Your Bro!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. How beautiful, Louise, how wonderful. And to be working again with Susan. I love the Creeley quote, nspiring and beguiling.

    • “Histoire du Florida” (first stanza)

      You’re there
      still behind
      the mirror,
      brother face.

      Only yesterday
      you were younger,
      now you
      look old.

      Come out
      while there’s still time
      left
      to play.
      .

  3. Lisa Lewenz Says:

    Love that you are paving the way for others…the perfect person to do so! I believe the island Odysseus landed on was Gozo– Simon and I spent ten days there ages ago, and the most captivating aspect for me was a rock near the sea that “breathed”, inhaling and exhaling with each arriving wave. Much like your writing breathes, embedded with a life of its own…can’t wait to see what emerges from this residency!

  4. Louise, your writing gives me the most pleasurable goosebumps. I am so happy for you, and for Susan. I send my love … along with my most ardent desire to be there, too.

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