Monday, June 16, 2014

Passion of Place


Freedom is not nothing left to lose, but nothing left to be.

I heard this on NPR the other day as I was driving. Ira Glass was replaying an interview from 2000 with an author I had never heard of - Janet McDonald.

McDonald, the author of the memoir, Project Girl, was born in Brooklyn "after midnight during a thunderstorm" and raised with her siblings in the projects. From an early age she developed a love of books, which she said took her out of the projects and ultimately to college and journalism school. She eventually moved to France, where she fell in love with the people and culture, a long way from her native Brooklyn. As I listened to her lilting voice, I was enchanted to hear her tell her story of her life, and was stopped dead in my tracks when I heard her make the statement, above. She said she was living in France and it came to her, that freedom is not nothing left to lose, as in the famous Janis Joplin song, but nothing left to be. Sadly, McDonald passed away in 2007, but she had found her passion of place.

I understand passion of place. It had been 30 years since I first set foot on Ithaka, as a young girl starting out in life. On this 30th anniversary I am returning to my beloved island, not as an archaeologist to excavate its soil, but in some ways, to excavate my soul. I will be attending The Homeric Writers Retreat and pursing this other passion of mine - literature and writing. I will be passing monuments I know by heart and driving a road I have driven many times, where a sheer drop off the edge meets the sea hundreds of feet below. I have memorized this land - it has become part of my soul. It has become part of me.

I look forward to returning to the place where I have grown from girlhood to motherhood, a place that continues to encourage me across the vast sea in my journey to wise woman hood.

14 comments:

  1. aren't you beautiful, then and now:)))

    what have we to be but ourselves? and who do we owe that to?

    so why do we come by freedom with such difficulty? we take the long way around, don't we.

    good on you for your enduring explorations. be rich.

    xo
    erin

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    1. Why do we come by freedom with such difficulty - that is the eternal question, isn't it? We do take the long way around, and I guess that's what we call life - the long way around. Now if we could only just figure that out and have more fun with it!

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    2. I neglected to add what flattering comments, thank you♡

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  2. Magnificent, Amanda. And I agree with Erin, you are beautiful then and now, but more than just your lovely face.

    May the spirit that shines through those features meet with all of the goddesses she is meant to encounter without and within on this retreat. I am thrilled for you and so happy to see you making this journey on the heels of having sent your own daughter from her house with a blessing on her new life. What an amazing year for you.

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    1. Thank you for these kinds words, Suze - I will remember that: meeting with all those goddesses without and within - love that.
      And yes, on the heels of my daughter's new life is also a new journey I am on....I am grateful to you for this unique insight xoxox

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  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. You are so Ithaka, you could hardly be anything, or any one, else.

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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    1. I am so Ithaka - that is a wonderful thing to hear....thank you R bear xoxo

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  4. How interesting and exciting. Love Ira and NPR.

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    1. I don't listen often enough - was so fortunate to happen upon this interview.

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  5. So beautiful..enjoy your soulful-journey and adventure...many blessings to you on your sacred path of return!
    Gorgeous photos too!

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    1. Thank you Victoria - and I love that as well - a sacred path of return......

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  6. I sense this is a journey your soul needs to go on. May you find the wisdom that you seek.

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    1. Spoken like a fellow traveler :)) thank you Loree♡

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  7. what can i say, amanda? you put it out there honestly and authentically and we all understand because we are all seekers.

    where your feet are: be there. that should be enough xoxo

    love
    kj

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Thank you for visiting♡