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Places I’ve Been – The Spirits of Hanover, NH, Denver, Seattle November 21, 2008

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Uncategorized.
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I got to thinking about my post yesterday about Dartmouth.  Since graduating in 1986, I’ve only been back to Hanover twice.  The first time was a year after graduation when I got a letter from my fraternity telling me that they were going to get rid of my stuff if I didn’t go back and reclaim it.  So I traveled back to the campus for that purpose.  The minute I got off the bus, I felt an instant sense of pain, as if the ground underneath my feet was screaming in terrific pain.

I went back there in June because there was a Feri camp in nearby Grantham, at the home of 2 people whose work takes them to Hanover and other places there-around.  I saw the place had dramatically transformed–the biggest changes were in the Baker Library complex, and … well, I still have a hard time integrating these understandings of how Ivy League education has changed.  Mind-boggling it is.

Energetically, I felt the place was rather numb.  Cloudy.  Buffeted.  Drugged, actually is the word I would used.  I have no idea what the drug might be, but if felt like it was Sudafed or something that sort of takes the edge off, but also makes one feel like there’s a pillow around the head and face.  When I went to school there, it felt more speed-y, more amphetamine or cocaine.  (“The latest thing” my mother said in December, 1986 when coke was old news, and other drugs were starting online to come.  Hey, at least she was only 5 years out of date! /snark)

I have a feeling that the energy might also be one of grief, though.  There was also the sense of an impending awareness that something was “over”, and that perhaps this drugged state was a boon.  I didn’t choose to make a judgment about this, and while I realized at the time of my visit that the energy had changed from 1987, until I started this post, it hadn’t occurred to me to decode that feeling and then to contextualize it in cursory fashion as I have done here.  I just knew there would be a fruitful vein to plumb.

I realized too yesterday as I was making my meals for today that I was carrying some “Denver” energy with me, and had been unconsciously all my life.  When I lived in Seattle, I met a fellow Denver native doing theater, and we once had a chat about Denver’s energies.  I told him I had an idea for a play where the cities of the Untied [sic] States became people, and that Denver was a Hispanic boy who didn’t value his vaquero past but wanted to be like “the big boys.”  Ya know–Pittsburg, Miami, Chicago.  I thought of New York as an Ivana style Dominican drag queen (“No 14th Street, are you loco?”), San Francisco as a lesbian couple, Seattle as an Asian woman who wore black and smoked a lot, Boston as a liberal white racist (who looked strangely like Angela Lansbury), Chicago was a black working class dude who was racist, sexist, homophobic, all the “-ists” you can think of, but you still somehow liked the guy. 

Well, I’ve been thinking about Doug’s comment on Denver of late which was that it felt like artistically one could only get so far and he or she would hit a ceiling.  It was like there was no way to ascend or move beyond artistically in Denver.  It’s instructive to note that for the Beatniks, some of whom settled in nearby Boulder, for the most part Denver was a somewhat neutral, semi-friendly way-station on the way to San Francisco.  Denver has been more about boom and bust than quite a few cities out there.  My folks lived through a few of those.  After I moved to Seattle, I had the opportunity to return to Denvoid (Denvoiceless sometimes I have also called it), and found that there was an unsettling amount of violence in the air.  I was still quite overweight back then, but violence is something that my fat body still could respond to, and I was quite distressed to walk down E. Colfax, and have at least one Mexican fellow hiss at me.  (I also passed a couple of belligerent white drunks as well on S. Broadway as I walked up to E. Colfax from the Mayan Theater, it occurs to me.)  The last time I was there, Denver seemed to have become more like a patchwork of elements.  I noted that Downtown felt quite sterile and flat, though there was an undercurrent of sass and Hispano-Nimue style sauciness (!) and that S. Broadway and the Broadway Terrace and Baker Neighborhood areas felt clean and delightful.  Capitol Hill hadn’t really changed energetically much since I lived there.  I still liked it quite a lot.  Colorado Boulevard–well, it felt like the bloom was off the rose.  Perhaps it was getting ready for some renaissance of its own.  Cherry Creek felt a mite coke-y to me, though it had a giddy sort of fun to it.  My sister lived in Engleweird, and I felt a “thirtysomething” sort of romance around the South Denver area nearby. 

Actually a part of me for a moment considered moving back.  I think there’s some bidness I have to of-care-take there, but … I will trust the time for that comes in its own good sweetness.

Seattle–well… I felt merely tolerated and “yes, but of course” while I lived there.  The energies of the town were respectful, but I think the town was well shut of me.  (Btw, I felt a more sinister element the last time I spent a few days in Boston.  I really felt the evil that had resided in that town in the pre-Revolutionary era that had taken root there and had not ever been dislodged.  There was an uneasy coexistence with the intellectuals, scienties and culturati.  But still the malefic financial sector’s influence in this little London was fairly . . . Jehovahsatanick to say the least.)  Seattle was ever deferential and somewhat “Libra-indulgent” in that there was a firm “we’ll see” energy going on there that I never could get beyond.    It wasn’t like Denver’s ceiling per se.  The barriers were horizontal rather than vertical.  I felt like institutions and possibilities there were foreclosed on some level.  Interesting things happened there, but actually right now I can’t say that my time in Seattle served to forward me in any way.  It was the place I had to go to start grieving and healing my family wounds.  It was there that I performed my “Requiem Familiae Morellae” (the Requiem for My Family Even Though They’re Still Alive”).  And it helped me to transition to NYC and NYU-FWIW.

Not sure what all this means really.  This blog post idea came to me in the meditative moments of shredding lettuce, cutting up a tomato, onion, pepper, etc.  And I was eager to get to it today.  Just as I’m eager and excited to get to the Pop-Up Plays tonight!  Art Night Schenectady November is Upon Us.   And the ensuing weekend should prove to be fabulous.

H’ray!

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