H- and Nicolo (a trombone-playing curator of soul ships and wanderers) will visit The Chapple Press Symposium, a conference for the like-minded and a voice for the obscured, this very Saturday. The travel won’t be their problem. The difficulty lies in whether, in their mind’s eye, a towering breakfast of hashbrowns and bacon, buckwheat pancakes with raspberry syrup, and two pots of brewed gold-leaf tea, will suffice for the entire duration, to and from.
Nicolo simply puffed and H- involuntarily jerked a shrug.
The Chapple Press Symposium will be hosted by a nonentity speaker. He is a local of Amsterdam and has an “excellent” photographic collection of his displacement. H- believes he is rural and a mid-weight influence amongst his peers. Nicolo believes what he will see at the Symposium. No more no less.
When H- was nomadic and found herself camped in front of the Capitol Building 500 days or so before, it had been a starry, cold night. She was sitting on a marble hedge across the illuminated stairs, unaware (or ignoring) the stationed guards at almost every step, loggia, and stony gables. Whilst Nicolo had been travelling in California with a dog, H- was snuggled between her two companions for warmth and solidarity amidst the crisis that lingered in her mind: will they ever be as significant, as important as she believed she would be?
She wrote it down in her notebook upon returning. The underground train lines of Washington D.C. were built like bunkers, the significant man said. But to H-, they were space stations. Roofed and bedecked with inimitable power of salvation of both the wicked and the good. She scratched the first word out (I). With thousands upon thousands in each space station, awaiting their doom or demise, salvation or safety, it never once occurred to H- that no one will remember anyone’s name. And it won’t be because of lack of trying.
There is something curtained and bleak about the great capital in the West. At night, at freezing temperatures, you value your existence more than you value the statuaries and edifices that holds centuries of history, language, and life. For one, struggling moment, the buildings became discrete, disconnected entities to me. They held no value, no life, no genus loci. But there was no shame. Only a sudden, inexplicable change in perspective.
FM: You favoured Washington D.C. over many cities in your travels. You mentioned its vibrancy, its colour amidst its structural power. What changed?
H: It is a lot quieter, the city. And I never thought the city was colourful in any way separate to its red-bricked, sun-kissed palisades. Its vibrancy, like Georgetown, remains in the forgotten entities that lingered. It seems contradictory to my previous statement but hear me out:
It’s not the buildings that haunt you, or the old houses or street posts. It’s the people who have entered said doors, who repainted and refurbished the windows and the old courtyard by the train lines. It’s the why a museum has been erected to pay tribute and to never forgot those who have fallen. It’s the dynasty, the legacy of each generation in every decade that is haunting. That is real.
FM: And why is that important to you?
H: Because we want to be significant. At all ways there is a need to be known, even if it’s to be forgotten. There is a purposeful stride to be remembered.
FM: And Nicolo?
H: He believes in seeing. He has a great rapport with artists and painters, jazz pianists, and saxophone players. He hears the music, he sees the strain on the forehead, the sweat, the adoration for their craft. And the product is there. It is limitless, but it’s tangible.
FM: You see the world more abstract. You favour fables and mythology over the corporeal.
H: I find they complement each other and are significant to each other. And that is why you can hold a perspective for one or the other. You can believe that the other is more significant to you and the other as less important. And vice versa. It is a study on perspective more than factual.
FM: Tell us about the symposium. Your attendance must be of consequence to your pursuit of this philosophy.
H: I am weaving a narrative fabric about displacement and emplacement of characters, personalities, and personas against the framework of that which surrounds us. Por ejemplo, an evil cat living in the Old Supreme Court of Capitol Hill. What is the significance of this animal against the assassinations that have happened in the buildings themselves? Would no one have befriended it? But someone must be feeding it.
FM: Is it for a film?
H: You never know.