Sunday, July 27, 2008

A deeper look into Lotus Land


There are many factors that lead me into a nearly constant state of psychic disbelief about my current circumstances. Many reasons why I spend a generous amount of my time sitting a bit aside from the group, staring out over the landscape, dazed, wondering what the hell planet I'm currently living on.

For one, I really don't know anyone here. I had only met two of the folks working this retreat before I came here. I drove out with a professional clown, in a car that is covered with chalkboard paint and chalk graffiti. I'm surrounded by strangers -- smart, talented strangers.
And yet everyone greets me with a smile, and offers me assistance and advice like we're old friends.

In the mornings, people are roused awake from their various tents and sleeping platforms by a woman playing Reveille on a trombone. After breakfast we caravan to the Camp to work with the kids. I find myself sitting in a circle with experienced theater people, doing warm-up games, and then sitting down to work as coach and scribe for some amazing kid. One on one we work out a series of surrealistic characters, none human, that will give this young person a place to clear out their soul just a little bit. Give them a place to tell their story in metaphor, in code -- through art.

I feel like I snuck into some dream job, having faked my qualifications. Like the people around me are so comfortable in this position that they don't see how out of place I am. Wasn't it about a month ago that I was graduating with a degree in Biology? That's science, right? That was me, right?

When we get back from camp, and after we debrief our work with the kids, immediately someone hands me a gin and tonic and says that I'm expected out at the horse shoe pits. Somewhere, there is meat slow roasting on a mesquite bbq, and our host is setting up for some incredible dinner. I rarely have a second drink, but since they're served in pint glasses, and are strong, I rarely need a second drink.

And I wander around to look at the geese on the pond, or to watch the stars come out as the last of the sun goes away, and I wonder how the hell I got here. Who the hell are all these people, and why are they all being so nice to me. How in god's name am I pulling off being a writing coach for these complex and vibrant kids.

Bp


[Painting: Robert Duncanson, Land of the Lotos Eaters, 1852]

7 comments:

Fester (aka Estu) said...

Two words: blotter acid.

Bpaul said...

How ever do you know about that substance, sir.

Fester said...

I am well read. An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a true democracy.

Chuck Butcher said...

Perhaps you'd be more comfortable if you quit thinking about it...
Maybe there really aren't all those levels and you're just personable and able?

then again - there's lsd - and that don't involve no book learnin on my part, just ancient history...

Chuck Butcher said...

the last sentence of that comment is in regard to managing to really be the "odd" man out.

Bpaul said...

For the record, the post was me expunging the mental record so I didn't need to think about it any more. Seems to be a helpful technique and in this case I figured I'd post it.

Things are going swimmingly here, other than intarweb technical problems I'm having staying connected.

Chuck Butcher said...

Expunging is good, I do it frequently over at my place, the problem seems to be that each day brings more to expunge.