Monday, October 31, 2011

CJD: 8 days of listening.

So, there's a tradition in Yoruba culture that a child is not acknowledged with a name until the 8th day of life. That means, the newborn will go 7 whole days on the cusp between something a lump of needs and a person. This is the result of the realities of infant mortality, but also the high value of Legacy. It is only on the 8th day that the child will step into their name, one mulled over and chosen with weight and awareness. When that name is said aloud, the crying collection of organs becomes a lovely Imani, a charming Djasi, a strong willed John, a graceful Victoria.

Our names are the first definitions of us. We did not choose our names ( for the most part), but we are shaped and defined by them regardless.

As I have tore through the beautiful tragedy of 9/11 and memory for this play, formerly known as "Skyscrapers Over Broadway", I realized that I never gave "her" (my ambitious and complicated child/play) a proper chance to EARN her name. She came out the womb named and stamped. However, perhaps there is some merit to listening for 7 days, hearing how she feels in the ear, and let her name simply come. And so, when September 11th, 2011 rolled around, that just what I did. Listen.

Here's what I heard:
Blocked words
Ash grey
Hard Humor
Too Soon Jokes
The Right Questions

in the days following, i found myself watching and listening to friends, strangers, the voice of Ground Zero, I kept hearing the word "Tapes", as in recording devices, wax, literal voices on wax, tapes on the planes, tapes of the day. There is so much held in what we hear, so much exciting and new sound; We hold so much based on what we take in audibly, and sometimes, the right sound at the right moment can recall memories you never even remembered you had.

She named herself. "Tapes". I like it.

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