November 15, 2012
I missed most of the radio interview of Joanne Macy except for this nugget of wisdom: “There’s a song waiting to be sung through you,” a motivation to listen for the mysterious music that compels the writer in us to share our ideas, whether it is a novel, a poem, or a tweet. The underside of sharing your song is the urge to parrot every random thought that passes through your porous brain. Broadcast the remarkable, the obscure, the arcane: write about the films deteriorating in rusty film cans before they vanish; remind us why books have the power to change the way we think and act; why On the Road never stayed at home, and 1984is forever in the future. Don’t search for factoids and platitudes so that your blogs are never silent. I’m glad to follow my friends on twitter and to occupy ideas about literature and politics, but when a writer acquaintance retweets an article called 40 Simple Ways to Never Run Dry, then it’s time to cap that well.
Last week I wrote about not having a headshot. I finally used an old picture, wearing a black sun hat and supersized glasses that were quite fashionable fifteen years ago and that I still wear for watching TV. This picture fascinates me, staring back and validating my work on The Gypsy Chronicles website. The article, Our Souls Are Deep with Dreams, will reside there from now until the end of time (or until I piss off the editor.) If anyone wished to know more about me after reading it, no one’s told me. But the lyrics to that fateful song—your article will be published—infect my psyche. Seeing what I wrote in the beautiful venue of the Chronicles, I have fallen into the aspiring miasma of the writer, please someone, somewhere, read my work.
And for my next number, encouraged by the publisher Alison Mackie, I want to interview the most famous Romani advocate if all, Ian Hancock. I’ve read his book, We Are the Romani People, and every article available on line, including the 130-page text, The Pariah Syndrome. Here’s the rub, he hasn’t published, at least I haven’t found anything, since 2002. He’s a professor of linguistics at the University of Texas in Austin where his web page says he’s writing three new books—the titles aren’t given. And who am I to ask him anything? Not a Roma, and not a writer who anyone pays to read. I’m writing a three page letter to him (so far), not including the interview questions, hoping that he has the time and the inclination to read and respond to them. The first question I want to ask is, “Do you feel like a voice crying in the wilderness?” I know I do.