Day 4 of this practice and it is getting harder and murkier. Compiling actions and resources, another voice in the roar, and trying to do the things I need to do, that existed a week ago, before everything shrunk except the need to stand up.
Tonight I meet with all of the students that made music with me this term. I called it a salon when I invited them. Now I wish I'd used a term that sounded less aristocratic and more like what it actually is: sharing, celebration. And Tommy Cosh starting singing "Mandalay" and we joined in with our raucous chorus of the unforgettable song.
Except my understanding of that line, from an Edwin Morgan poem, from a setting of it I called "Like Lambs," is that the singers are going to war and this is maybe their last chance to hear music, to sing. So they sing. The song becomes a memory and the memory becomes a poem.
"Mandalay" became the code word in a message I sent when I was the same age as the students I am meeting tonight. I was not on a sinking ship so I sent the message out alone, working through the directory and entering all of the sympathetic readers I could identify. The next day I felt like the world had transformed. People passed me and said it. They joined in.
What would it take, in that room tonight, for the world to feel changed tomorrow, even just this small campus in this small town? What kind of power would need to be unleashed, what kind of message would we need to send?
It wasn't the message as much as it was the culling of the names in the directory. The location of sympathetic readers. I am looking for you.