Facing the last few weeks of the summer teaching break, I managed to create enough time to head into the Cascade Mountains for two days of hiking and camping in the backcountry wilderness. I'd taken Carver's Where I'm Calling From as part 1 of a resolution to re-read all of his work. Getting reacquainted, you might say.
Several miles in, by a lake with a name I'll never reveal, I lean back against a sunny rock and start in on the book. Of course, you know the first story. After I once again marvel at how well Carver captures what it's like to be 13 years old and growing up in Yakima, I continue for a few stories more before stopping to assemble the fishing rod I had packed, and making the first (albeit very late in the season) cast of the year.
Fifteen minutes into the effort, I had hooked and landed the largest fish I have ever caught, a beautiful, 16 inch native cutthroat trout. Took me ten minutes to land him. And the Carver coincidences continue to multiply.
I've had a wonderful response so far to the idea of this project, along with the repeated question about what a "cultural exchange" might be. I guess I left that description intentionally vague. This may have been my idea, but I don't want it to be my project alone. Nor do I want to limit the creative process by saying I want only poetry, or only prose, only art or music. Being a part of this means you come in as equal partners, with as much voice here as anyone else. At some point, we'll meet, all of us on each side of the Atlantic, to talk more about what can go into our exhibits, and how we want to deliver them.
I'm eating the fish tonight...