creative ramblings & reverie

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Writing Spaces

Inspiring, or offputting?  Such a giant writing desk would have to produce monumental works.

image: "The Writer", Hampstead Heath, August 2005.


In a market in Brazil,
an abundant crop of stripes:

gathered and woven into cloth,
pressed into fat, round melons,
etched with silver down
the fishes' spines,

worked with elaborate care,
as a joke, into the face
of the old woman selling guavas.

—Christie (still melon season!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Spaces

Roman inscription, talking of timeless things.

image: Christie B. Cochrell, Roman Inscription


Coming towards us on the sand
a man on a bicycle
carefully balances, with one hand,
a watermelon on his shoulder.

We all smile, turning to look,
because it is green striped and full,
because the track of the tipsy wheel
wobbles and weaves down the sand,

because the mans bent back, over
the handlebars, shakes with laughter.

—Christie (because it's melon season)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Writing Spaces

Thousands of notes and messages left on the walls of Juliet's house in Verona by star-crossed lovers (as in the film, Letters to Juliet).

image: Daily Mail

Reading the Stones


Daphne was the daughter of a river god. Daphne was girl turned tree. I liked to think I was the daughter of a river god too, once I found out there were such things, but my father was just a water rights attorney, really, with an office in an old 7-11 along the main truck route through Española, New Mexico. That did give him an almost godlike power, in a land where water was so scarce. And rivers were in his hands—though only a couple of very little ones, dry half the year, way up by Ojo Caliente.

The question is, would he have turned me into a laurel the way Daphne’s father did? For love of me, to keep me safe? I’ve often wondered. If he hadn’t been trying so desperately to save himself, maybe.

But anyway, Daphne—turning to tree. I could see that. I could imagine bark across my cheekbones (water birch, maybe, or freckled sycamore), the dapple and rustle of leaves always around my head. I sat up in the cottonwood for hours, sometimes, hiding from my little sister Cassie with her armful of glassy-eyed dolls, and from my mother’s constant disappointment in me. I camouflaged myself in leaf shadow on the edges of the playing field, hoping my seventh-grade tormenters might not see me— even if I was a head taller than the rest. Daphne made perfect sense. The Greek myths, which we read that year for the first time, seemed more familiar to me already than my own story.

It was those others in my class I didn’t understand in the least. Daughters of women photographers, of famous western writers, of archaeologists who spent summers on old volcanic islands and spoke in Italian and had a donkey at the bottom of their garden, who were undergoing transformations more incomprehensible than what they did to atoms up the hill in Los Alamos. I was awkward, gawky, among people; made fun of for my eager enthusiasms and my naiveté. The other girls that year were all becoming lithe, sinuous, knowing; their skirts becoming shorter; their lips becoming fuller, redder; their thoughts turning to things I had no inkling of. I was stuck with just me. Dorky old Marcella. I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t becoming anything.

My father wasn’t, after all, a river god. My father was a mortal with his very real mortality starting to show.

But I was hopeful, anyway. Daphne had opened up the lovely possibility of change.

—Christie, Reading the Stones

Friday, September 10, 2010

Writing Spaces

The perfect chair for writing about local color . . .

image: Christie B. Cochrell, Chair in Crete


Two stumps, couchant
and grandly gnarled
like oriental lions
in a den of autumn oaks

shade imminent
and closing in,
like year and years

the far west campus
readying again
for its more serious purpose

the pause of summer
done, ephemeral as summers past

these great truncated beasts,
creatures of time itself, laying
a heavy paw over
the paper-lightness of its bones.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Writing Spaces

image: Christie B. Cochrell, Cushions, The Writing Mills, Mallorca

Notes from Hawai'i

Smoke along the road to Kealakekua—chickens roasting by the hundreds, barbecued, on spits.

On Thursday the dive boat has anchored offshore, strung with Christmas lights.

On Saturday morning they practice dancing, with the bamboo sticks.

The old Chinese man on the lawn between the Kona Inn and the ocean paints ideographs with a fat brush. I remember the sign for thinking within motion, the self and the journey which is within.

At the Saturday farmers' market we buy a bagful of papayas and flowers—pink ginger, orchids, mixed anthurium, $5.00.

They are fishing off the rocks. The volcano that I feel when I "feel the earth," practicing my Tai Chi, has been taken by cloud.

The second boat whose mast is constant in my view of steeple, mast, and white plumaria went out this morning with a gay striped sail.

I drink a dry white wine from the volcano. Not as fine as Etna or the other volcanic whites, but surprisingly good.

The bonsai banyan trees fit on a shelf.

Dried leis have been left on the statue of the fish god.

From the gardener who gives my mother bags of papayas and little pecan tarts we hear about the sea cave filling up with golf balls.

—Christie, December 1996