Letter From the Editor: February

While I was compiling this month’s issue I found myself, as ever, weaving a fabric of connections between everything that we had shared. A few of phrases kept ringing around in my head in the small hours of the night. A pair from Kurosawa’s Ikiru, Toyo saying “Make something,” and Watanabe saying, later in the film, “I want to do something.” And from (featured artist) Cris Qualiana’s artist statement, “The World became Qualiana’s classroom…The people and places she encountered–distinctive scents, sights, sounds and flavors–filled her sketch-books. And Qualiana met herself, again and again, in various incarnations, through her painting and drawing.” And finally, a line I first met in a song, by 19th century Spanish poet Antonio Machado,

Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

My insomnia thoughts turned to the idea of making the world by creating, and of all the ways we make worlds, continually and subconsciously, in our waking lives as well as in our dreams. Some worlds are so fully-realized it seems as if they were discovered rather than created. Henry Darger used junk he found in the streets to create over 15,000 pages of writing and art, a vibrant, beautiful, terrible world bursting out of him. Other worlds are created slowly, haltingly, over time; changing day by day with many false starts, much turning back to try another path.

For Darger and many others, the world of their creation is not meant to be sold or even shared, it’s intensely personal and all-consuming. For many of us in the present day, we create worlds by sharing them, by posting pictures and updates, our every meal and thought and disappointment and achievement. We make a picture of our world that forms our world.

I believe that everyone has some world in their head that has to come out somehow, some song or story or picture. A world they create and discover, where they meet themselves in various incarnations. And maybe it won’t come out in any obvious way, maybe it will be in the unusual spices they add to their meal, or the pictures they take of their dogs, or the stories they tell themselves when they can’t sleep. And I believe that the creative process doesn’t stop with the product, it begins again when somebody reads or looks or listens, so that the person reading, looking, and listening becomes part of the process, becomes an artist, too. So maybe it will come out as the love you feel for a photograph, or the way you’re moved to tears by a story you read. 

Or maybe it will come out in a magpie collection of words and pictures, shared and created with anyone who looks or reads or listens, all of us making the world by creating.

Traveler, there is no path

by Antonio Machado

Everything goes and everything stays
but our fate is to pass
to pass making a path as we go,
paths over the sea,

I never pursued glory,
or to leave on the memory
of the men,this my song:
I love the subtle worlds,
weightless and gentle
like soap bubbles.

I like to see them paint themselves on sun and crimson,
fly under a blue sky
shudder suddenly, and break…
I never pursued glory.

Traveler, your footprints are the path, and nothing else.
Traveler, there is no path. A path is made by walking.

A path is made by walking,
and in looking back one sees
the trodden road that never
will be set foot on again.
Traveler, there is no path, but wakes on the sea…

Some time ago on that place
where today the woods dress in brambles
the voice of a poet was heard shouting
“Traveler, there is no path. A path is made by walking”

Blow by blow, verse by verse…
The poet died far from home
and is covered by the dust of a neighboring country.
As he went away, he could be heard crying,
“Traveler, there is no path. A path is made by walking.”

Blow by blow, verse by verse…
When the robin can no longer sing,
when the poet is a pilgrim,
when praying is no more of use.
Traveler, there is no path. A path is made by walking.

Blow by blow, verse by verse

Categories: featured

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