DOORS AT THE END OF THE WORLD

This is my last day of a thirty-four day trip to Morocco, twenty-five days of which were spent in the Sahara Desert. I’m now back where I started, in Marrakech, in the Riad Dar El Aila, and it feels a bit like coming home. Hello, you’re back! they greet me, as if I have survived some incredible undertaking. And, yes, I have been through the fire and come out a wiser and more enriched person for it. That’s how life is, a series of adventures that, when looked back upon, grow into the essence of who we are continually becoming.

While in Fez, a couple days ago, my friend Lux (who survived the desert experience with me, more on that later),  and I made sure to walk through Bab Boushloud, the “Blue Gate.” This was where I walked as a ten year old, filled with wonder at this mystical city, wandering the Medina with my sister, looking for magic bottles with genies in them. All part of my childhood memoir, INTO THE WORLD.

Lux and I went to Volubilis, the Roman outpost that must have seemed to those stationed there to be at the end of the world. A rough place where a person might be forgotten in disgrace or be determined to rise up and use it as a stepping-stone to something better. Sort of like people who stop off in Las Vegas to work, their goal being to get to Los Angeles, and somehow, they never make it out of the desert.

I found it to be a place of majestic nostalgia. Everywhere, there were doors and, depending on how you perceive them, they could be leading to another reality or to nowhere. Doors at the end of the world…and the beginning of another.

MY WORLD IN THE SAHARA

I spent the month of December in village Tissardmine, in the Sahara Desert, Morocco. I was there on a mission, to work on the last draft of Book of Angels, #2 in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, and to conduct the MY WORLD PROJECT with kids in the village.

First, I had to figure out how to work with the kids. I started by going out in the afternoons, drumming with them on the dunes, making friends–they were so delightful, so excited and happy. I visited their one-room school up on a hill, overlooking the village and spoke with the two teachers, Hafid and Habib, who I found to be dedicated and supportive,. They invited me to do the project at the school. I discovered that the kids in the school come from three different villages and travel up to 6 miles one way, six mornings a week. The school provides them with lunch  before they journey home.

I started by sharing the art and writing of the kids we had worked with on the Hoopa Reservation in Northern California and in Amazonian Ecuador. I asked the Tissardmine kids, if there was one word they could share with the kids around the world, what would it be? Overwhelmingly, that word was Salam, or Peace. This is the word that everyone in Islamic countries uses to greet each other. They made a booklet, each child drawing a word that was important to them.

 

 

Here are some of the awesome kids in Village Tissardmine, in collaboration with Café Tissardmine, an artists residency program, I brought this project to the kids in the school. They are sharing what is most important about their world with kids in the Hoopa Tribe in Northern California, the Moretecocha children in Ecuador and kids imn Los Angeles. Their word they want to share is Salam, which means Peace. This is a good word for this Holiday Season and for always. In the Islamic countries this is the word people always greet one another with and I can’t think of a better way to say hello!

FIGHTING FEAR WITH LIGHT

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Life is strange. Here I am in this beautiful place by the sea in Costa Rica, in a little outdoor restaurant, lights twinkling, the hypnotic sound of the waves, and I am at the same time watching on the news the carnage and suffering in Paris, and thinking next Friday I will be in Marrakech to do the MY WORLD PROJECT with kids in the desert. If I can bring some light into this world with my writing, my art, the work I do with kids, my boxing and kick boxing classes, where maybe someone comes in depressed and feeling like they can’t go on and they go out with a renewed spirit ready to fight another day, inspired to give something of their gifts to others, then I have done what I can to tip the scales towards peace and unity. This giving of gifts is the joy that brings meaning to my life. It is a battle and there is more than one way to fight. We all must fight with whatever gifts we have to shine the light and to dispell fear.