Thursday, February 18, 2016

There’s a Hole in the Bucket…



dear Liza, dear Liza
There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

The song reverberated through my head all night. And what a night….
Stan, grey-bearded poet and guitarist, strummed his Washburn Rover leading us in a rousing version of the song I’d long forgotten. Some remembered every stanza. The rest of us caught on quickly to the silly repetition. How we howled and laughed.
Then followed “Folsom Prison, “Home on the Range,” “Red River Valley,” “Irene, Good night,” and a duo by Stan and Beth of Dolly Parton’s “Wildflowers.”
When a flower grows wild, it can always survive
Wildflowers don't care where they grow.
Scout songs, campfire songs, folk songs. The lyrics resurfaced from the deep recesses of my memory. We turned pensive when Stan sang lonely heart ballads
I felt privileged to be in this special company at this country home sing-along: three distinguished Canadian writers, three aspiring writers and the man-of-the-house. It was an evening of lively conversation and stories, book recommendations, an abundance of Chilean wine, hearty local food and photo posing. That night I felt removed, transported from my routine life to another place, another time. For a little while, I was no one’s wife or mother, my usual context pared down to the core of the essential me.
Stan and Beth spoke of their lives in Newfoundland, their cat, their current works. We plied Rosemary Sullivan with questions about her latest book, “Stalin’s Daughter.” How did she research it? How long did it take her? She related how her travels and the people she met led to new books.
Earlier in the day, Stan patiently went over four poems I’d written. As if by magic, eliminating a word here, moving a line there, he brought conciseness to them. Beth worked with another of my Santiago Writer colleagues to sharpen her story. This was a time for consulting, exchanging ideas and thinking, enhanced by the calm of the countryside.
After the last song, we were heading off to bed when Rosemary offered:
“I’d like to read to you the first two pages of my book.” We sat and waited in silence.
She began with the Prologue, The Defection. "At 7:00 p.m. on March 6, 1967, a taxi drew up …."








   Los Parronales, 2016

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