Okay, I have to step away from Marrakesh for a bit. Getting up to Marrakesh is one thing, but what actually happened to us there—well, that’s really about joy and then tragedy. Then, the story goes trauma narrative. Mohammed Daoudi led me to the country; Ahmed Radi led me to the city; the Fulbright branch of the US Department of State led me to Cadi Ayyad University. Next thing you know, my husband Gary and our daughter Maddy and I are living in Riad Essalam, a pretty little crossroads on the northwest corner of the city, right up against the bled.
So, you can read about some of the story on my Marrakesh page. Just click on Walt Whitman in Marrakesh. That’s something I wrote along the way.
And, there will be more.
In the meantime, suffice it to say, I’ll be steering toward the elements that draw us to particular places. Are we genetically driven to live in certain regions? Do spiritual remnants pull us to particular places.
Here’s Maddy playing with some friends on the beach near Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast. As near as I can tell, she’s pre-disposed to seashores.
So, I’m not a cute young man who graduated from an Ivy league school. One strike against my application to the head of the American School. But, even for a girl I got a cheerful note from Joe McPhillips. And so, I kept on writing and teaching and left my paralegal world with Mohammed behind. Marcia and Mohammed moved to Vermont; I lived in New York for a year with Gary, my husband, adopted Maddy from a Romanian orphanage and then started Richard Hugo House with my friends. After five or six years, I revisited my Moroccan dream when I met Ahmed Radi, a poet from Marrakesh.
Ahmed was on a three-week Fulbright in Bellevue, just across the water from Seattle. My friend Diane Douglas, a very cool woman who ran the liberal arts center at Bellevue Community College, told me about a Moroccan poet who had come to her program. I invited Ahmed to Hugo House and we had lunch. A couple of years later, after I’d moved on from ten years as the founding director at Hugo House, I wrote to Ahmed and solicited his help with a Fulbright application.
That’s how Gary and Maddy and I went to Marrakesh. The short version. And here is a photo of Ahmed and I during the Marrakesh Marathon.