Walt Whitman in Marrakesh

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.

Living in a Painting

So, back in the early 1990’s, I hung out with the backroom guys in that law firm in Seattle, and I saw more of Mohammed’s paintings. Ambrosavage, the cartoonist, spoofed office life and dipped into political satire. “My sister’s in the FBI,” he said. “Don’t want to get carried away.” Ambrosavage drank constantly and encouraged everyone else to join him. We admired it, but couldn’t ever quite keep up.

On weekends, Mohammed painted more and more sprays of color, more figures of women reclining, more ladders connecting land and sky, more airplanes. I’d go visit his house where he and his wife Marcia, a solid socialist who was a kindred soul of my husband Gary’s, lived on Beacon Hill in Seattle. Mohammed worked in an unheated garage set against the hillside and we’d sit in there with a portable heater blowing. I’d sit on a stool and watch him paint. We’d drink beer and point to the images. “Like ’em?” Mohammed would say. Then he’d grin. Sometimes, at dinner, he’d goof around and pretend to poke a fork in his eye. The prongs would bounce off the lens of his glasses. Continue reading “Living in a Painting”