When you strip down visual art to its constituent parts – paintings, photographs, material installations, movies, concrete skyscrapers, embroidered textiles.. – they all seem to speak the same fundamental language. Just like mathematics is the foundation of all sciences, writing is the bedrock of visible artistic form. A word is more than just a movement with the hand, or a stroke of characters on a keyboard. It is a visual expression of human interaction honed by memory and experience. It is the most basic visualization of emotion and thought nurtured by generations of culture and civilization. When a word is breathed on paper – just like a painter’s brush on canvas – a calligraphic shape soon becomes surreal. The only difference is that with writing, we all have access to this imaginary world. For every true writer is an artist and every true artist is a writer. What do you think?
“The history of this world has unfolded from a stone cast many times into the sea only to find its way to shore again until the world in its entirety was filled with endless grains of sand each speaking of an age and time that once befell. What stories can we learn from playing with the sand. What stories can we tell from drawing shapes in dust and molding castles, moats, and gates with towers high. For sand is the essence of life. In every grain we can hear the cries of the millions that have perished before us and in every grain the joyous laughter of the millions that will be born. Cordoba was no ordinary sand castle in the playground of this world.”
I am currently working on a new book that tells the story of Cordoba an ancient city in medieval Spain. Cordoba has so much to teach us about coexistence, tolerenace and love. Yet it remains forgotten in our modern accounts of history. More than 1000 years ago and for a brief hundred years or so, it was the largest and most extravagant city in the world where people from all walks of life lived together in harmony – until Cordoba was destroyed. I hope to share with you some bits and pieces of the story along the way.
Confined to the very elements that make up who we are, we struggle every day to break the rules of nature. And little do we know that nature’s rules are only broken with little blows to our inner selves and to those we love around us. Above the rubble of what we break are countless heaps of problems that need repair. And only through the same collective pain that wrought this err can we find amends for our transgressions.
I walk barefoot, this urge I have so strong. Not because I’m naked nor poor nor in need of shoes. But because I’m curious. To feel and reconnect. From asphalt sidewalks to muddy fields of grass. A voyage through the unforeseen, that’s seen. And we all wonder, why the poor are seen.
We walk barefoot. And as the blades of grass caress our heels, the sunshine rains between our toes. I feel I know you more. Back home we dance. I witness all your life. Your past and present and what’s to come, as you sway your feet across the floor.
And in the morning, our feet cold from loneliness are touching slightly. We’ve left the world behind. We’ve left the places. We’ve left time itself. A sobering stillness melting from below. Bare feet touching anticipating another day.
No words are needed. No sounds. No smiles. We mold our dreams from clay. Making shapes, telling stories, and painting footprints on our way.
What’s that on your hand?
Too long a story to be shared
Longer than a boat ride then?
I don’t know where to start
Where does your heart take you?
But now its hovering around your lips
Its floating around the crevices of your smile
Trying to understand
The stories behind that pensive look
Laughing but shy
Humming but not carefree
Who are you stranger?
I’ve told so many lies
I feel I know you well
Have we met before?
Why are we so different then?
I could never tell
Are you afraid of water?
It’s cold and I am tired
But yet we are so young
What’s your name again?
How could we sometimes feel
So connected, just for a bit
And never have the courage
To ask for more?
Accustomed to being who we are
And with who we usually are with
I may have met my soul mate
We may have shared
So many early morning laughs
But now that’s just another story
To be told
Thought about at night
When reflecting about the day
As I’m getting old
And nearer to the bay
But smiling still
Her fingers wrap around
Her phone pulled out
From skinny jeans
I can see her skin
She takes a call
And walks on still
She looks both ways
And falls away
It’s sobering when sitting by your side
A heavy presence laid upon my heart
Just like a whistling kettle I am free
To drink the fire of our love at start
Then burn inside consumed with my own doubts
Until I spit it out so uselessly
An old affair with passion and some clout
Is nothing but hot air before a tea