Six years ago when I was teaching a young girls writing workshop, Making Noise, at the Inprint House, Marie Howe stopped by to write with us. She talked about how she and Salman Rushdie got in a car and drove to New York a few days after 9/11. I wrote this piece after hearing her talk.
Journal with Marie Howe
November 3, 2001, Inprint House
Reality and dreams don’t always fit but if we can, even for a moment, align them then together we can make a wooden house on the mountains in Hunza or Chitral in the Karakoram or Himalyas. Beside the rippling gushing icy water, we can build wooden bridges so we can go to the other side of the field where the grass is more green and the land more expansive and the mountains even higher with their snowy tips brushing against sky but where they are somehow even more reachable than they have ever been.
And we will live here for a long time, and our home will be open to all who want peace and whenever a new person joins us, we can build him or her a new room. There will be a kitchen where we can prepare cauldrons of vegetables and daal, which we will eat together every day. At night we will light candles and sit around in a circle and tell stories. And during the day, ah during the day, what is there that we cannot do? We will go fishing or swimming or hiking or writing or drawing. Or sometimes we will just lie on the grass our heads resting on one arm, our bodies outstretched and we can have our eyes open or we can have our eyes closed. And we can lie there and watch the eagles and kites soar above us.
Sometimes we can close our eyes and just enjoy the rustling of the fir branches, the tickling of the grass on our necks, the twittering of the doves and the sparrows. We can inhale the fragrance of the narcissus flowers and enjoy our closed eyes and know that the peaceful darkness behind our eyelids is of our own choosing and when we open our lashes, the sun and the grass and the trees and the birds will all still be there. And if we want to stay longer, after the sun sets, we can do that as well and wait till the stars appear to rain into the sky like fireworks. And we can stay there all night and all day and awaken the next morning to enjoy the grass and the mountains and the silence that we have all almost forgotten.