Articles taggés avec: Ricker Winsor

Expatriation, Art, and Spirit

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 04 juillet 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Expatriation, Art, and Spirit

Standing on the edge of the highway I held a sign that said « London ». It was cold, early spring, and I was hitching from Newcastle. I was nineteen, and the year, nineteen sixty-four. At a pub that evening a Canadian guy told me : « You know, once it starts it never stops ». He was right and I knew it even then.

Expatriation is an inevitability for certain people. People with prolonged expatriate experiences due to work move through well-known stages of adaption : the honeymoon of excitement at a new place, the disappointment as the downside is revealed, and the final accommodation to it all. Eventually, surely, they go home. And what happens then ? Most just carry on where they left off in their communities but others have a hard time readjusting.

We all know about « roots » and what that means in a personal way to each of us. Back then, at age nineteen, I shook up those roots, and if they were not yet dislodged, they also never returned to their original condition.

Restlessness attends the expatriate personality. What else could make a person leave for a strange place without friends and without knowing the language or the culture ? That same drive sent Leif Erikson, Christopher Columbus and many others on their way into the unknown. It is in the human personality to want to know what is over the next hill but some people experience that tendency as a deep need.

I don’t even like traveling and I never had an interest in being a tourist. Yet here I am, having lived all over the world and now settling in Indonesia. I returned to my home in the northeast of the USA more times than I can count and every time I left again, not because I didn’t like it but because all my other foreign experience tugged at my heart and called me into action almost in spite of myself. It just seems so much more interesting « out there » wherever that may be.

Someone back home said : « Oh, I would never move somewhere I didn’t have friends ». But the expat knows that there are good people everywhere and new friends waiting for you. They may not be the old friends that are so precious but they are good friends and could be even better friends if you would only hang around, something that is always a question mark both for you and for them.

And up comes  the down side. After yanking on those roots hard and long, they wither and die. You find yourself  « out there » on your own. Back home the friends are huddled together around a fire of communal warmth and you are like the wolf circling from the bushes, wishing you could get closer. You are different and everyone knows it. And when you are with them they talk about their normal lives without much interest in hearing your foreign stories. And why ? Because your stories have no connection with their lives or their experience.

Expatriation, Art, et Esprit

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 04 juillet 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Avec la participation amicale de Simon Mendy qui a traduit de l’anglais Expatriation, Art, and Spirit, et de Julia Revuz pour sa contribution à cette traduction.

Expatriation, Art, et Esprit

Debout au bord de l’autoroute, je tenais un panneau indiquant « Londres ». Il faisait froid en ce début de printemps, et je faisais du stop depuis Newcastle. J’avais dix-neuf ans en cette année dix neuf cent soixante quatre. Dans un pub, ce soir-là, un canadien m’avait dit : « tu sais, quand c’est parti, ça s’arrête jamais ». Il avait raison et je le savais déjà à l’époque.

S’expatrier est inéluctable pour certaines personnes. Les gens qui s’expatrient longtemps du fait de leur profession passent par différents stades : il y a l’excitation d’être dans un endroit nouveau, puis de la déception quand on découvre ce qui y est moins bien, puis l’habitude qui s’installe à ce qui est bien et moins bien. Après, à un moment donné, ils rentrent à la maison. Et que se passe-t-il ? La plupart renouent avec leur communauté, d’autres ont beaucoup de mal à se réadapter

Nous avons tous entendu parler de « racines », et de la part d’intime qu’elles évoquent en chacun de nous. A l’époque, à dix-neuf ans, je tirais sur ces racines, et même si à cette époque, elles n’étaient pas arrachées, les liens ne sont jamais revenus à leur condition initiale.

La fièvre du changement est le propre de l’expatrié. Sinon, qu’est ce qui expliquerait qu’une personne parte pour un lieu étrange, sans connaissances là-bas, et sans même connaître la langue ou la culture locale ? Cette envie de changement a fait partir Leif Erikson, Christophe Colomb et plein d’autres vers l’inconnu. C’est un trait du caractère humain : chercher à savoir ce qu’il y a de l’autre côté de la montagne. Pour certains c’est un besoin vital.

Je n’aime pas particulièrement voyager, le tourisme ne m’a jamais intéressé. Pourtant j’ai vécu aux quatre coins du monde, et je m’installe en ce moment en Indonésie. Je suis rentré chez moi dans le nord-est des Etats Unis un nombre de fois incalculable, mais à chaque de fois je suis reparti. Pas parce que je n’aime pas chez moi, mais parce que toutes mes expériences à l’étranger résonnaient dans mon cœur. Ce désir d’action était plus fort que moi. C’est juste plus intéressant « autre part » peu importe où c’est.

Quelqu’un à la maison a dit une fois : « J’irai jamais m’installer dans un endroit où je ne connais personne ». L’expatrié sait qu’il y a des gens bien partout, et qui vous attendent pour devenir vos  amis. Il ne s’agit pas bien sûr d’amis intimes, qui nous sont si chers, mais d’amitiés intéressantes qui pourraient se développer, si seulement vous restiez plus longtemps. La question reste ouverte pour vous et pour eux.

Essay for Reflets du temps

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 07 mars 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Essay for Reflets du temps

Asia Air Flight 8501

In a high rise hotel in Surabaya, a quiet week waiting like so much of life, my wife makes miniatures of snacks in clay for jewelry ideas and I download Nordic Noir. A trip to the gym to stay the decline, then I dream more vividly than I live and solve problems there I couldn’t understand awake, and feel stupid against it all. Can a thunder clap blow you out of the sky, fair-weather friend ? On our daughter’s phone I see the portrait of four handsome young men in the virility of youth whose bloated bodies, one by one, are now delivered up, home for the holidays.

Ricker Winsor, Surabaya, Indonesia  Jan. 2015

 

The Seventieth Year

That I am just now, this month, seventy years old is a surprise to me. Sometimes I recount the many ways I might have died, the recklessness that tempted death. The youth of my generation didn’t think life after thirty was worth living and we hoped to be dead by forty, and some of us were. I survived the snares and traps somehow and I squeezed a hundred lifetimes in this seventy years. Remembering it all makes me tired. Noting the decline of my body makes me tired. And yet, despite the fact that skin hangs on my body in places where it once had a firm grip on muscle and flesh, despite my chagrin when viewing current pictures of myself ; despite all that, this condition of time right now is in many ways the nectar of my life.

There is more subtlety, more nuance to my life now. Before, there was action, libido, and the excitement of taking risks. There was also failure and regret. Most of that has vaporized into the ether but not regret. It does not go away although it is softened by time. Time mixes it into a rich broth by adding nostalgia, melancholy, happiness, and the memory of clear days and the freshness of youth. Out of all that, time creates a unique cuisine, a bazaar of tastes and recollections experienced in the mind.

The mind has always been the locus of greatest entertainment for me. This might be an introvert trait ; introverts generally tend to be happiest in their own company. Joy of mind comes from what imagination adds to what I experience as external reality, a reality I often find disappointing in one way or another. I have come to accept this as part of the human condition. Occasionally I relax my judgmental sensitivity and experience a moment’s fleeting peace.

A Bat

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor, Jean-François Vincent le 03 janvier 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

A Bat

In Bangladesh

He got in through the mesh.

It was a bat

A bat rolled up in a mat.

Was he dead or just in bed ?

Estivating or maybe meditating,

 

He looked mummified.

I had to clarify.

He was quiet ;

Too long on a diet.

No mosquito no fly

had passed by

while he took his rest

in that comfy nest.

 

I picked him up.

He felt cold.

He looked old.

I took him up on the roof

and, just for fun,

put him in the sun

to soak up the rays

of that equatorial day.

Une chauve-souris

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor, Jean-François Vincent le 03 janvier 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Une chauve-souris

Au Bangladesh

Il l’a prise : elle était dans la dèche

C’était une chauve-souris,

Une chauve-souris enroulée dans un tapis.

Etait-elle morte ou juste au lit ?

En train d’estiver ou peut-être de méditer.

 

Elle avait l’air momifiée

Il me fallait tout cela clarifier.

Nul mouvement,

Au régime depuis trop longtemps !

Nul moustique, nulle mouche ne passait,

Alors que son repos elle prenait,

Dans ce nid qui le confortait.

 

Je la ramassais.

Froide au toucher,

Elle avait l’air âgée.

Je la montai sur le toit ;

Et juste pour la joie,

Je la plaçai au soleil

Afin que ses rayons l’imbibent et la veillent

Dans l’équatoriale clarté.

Racism IS

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 06 septembre 2014. dans Racisme, xénophobie, La une, Ecrits

Racism IS

About a lifetime ago, in our loft in Brooklyn, my wife and I watched the light streaming in through the big old factory-building windows and saw, floating in the warm slanting beams, a million dust particles bouncing and floating.

« Am I wrong, or didn’t we just finish cleaning the whole loft ? » I said.

« Dust IS », she said, which I though was kind of brilliant.

« Yeah, dust IS », like an element, a part of creation you can’t edit out no matter what you do. It is just there. Racism is just like that.

Why bother saying anything more about it, and, especially, why should a white man say anything ? No matter what a white man says is bound to be wrong. That also « IS ». And yet, this topic keeps coming up and keeps needing to be addressed one way or the other, with essays and editorials and/or with looting, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

« Why can’t a woman be more like a man ? » declared Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. And the white man says, « Why can’t a black man be more like a white man ? » Things would go a lot easier for everyone if that were the case. That’s what we think anyway, most of us, if I can stick my neck out a bit.

Affirmative action, scholarships, a helping hand ; they all were well intentioned ways of giving black people a way into the white world where we would all be more happy. But they, generally speaking, were not having any of that ; not much anyway. It reminds me of that naïve idea we had that if we would just give those Iraqis the ability to vote and maybe a few credit cards they would, lickety split, be transformed into happy, prosperous, law-abiding Republicans and Democrats.

I went to boarding school for the high school years. I went back to the 25th reunion, already a long time ago. When we were in school in the early sixties there were maybe three African American students. Twenty five years later I was standing next to a long-time professor watching the classes of years past parade across the athletic field and saw no color anywhere except for the American flag. And I asked him about that.

« How is that possible », I asked, « after all that has happened ? » And he said, « We can’t get them. They don’t want to come and when they do they don’t stay long. They drop out ». And now we are getting into the nitty gritty because many of them say, in one way or another, « Fuck you whitey ». Simple as that. Racism IS.

I have lived all over the world and everywhere it is the same ; the whiter you are the better it is for you. Nobody wants to be darker. Everybody wants to be lighter in skin color. That is a mysterious fact. And the African group is at the bottom of the barrel, maybe because they are the blackest. A well-traveled white person can appreciate that black is beautiful. I haven’t noticed that black people accept that easily.

An Old Man’s Winter Night, by Robert Frost

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 21 juin 2014. dans La une, Ecrits

An Old Man’s Winter Night, by Robert Frost

All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him

Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,

That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.

What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze

Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.

What kept him from remembering what it was

That brought him to that creaking room was age.

He stood with barrels round him – at a loss.

And having scared the cellar under him

In clomping there, he scared it once again

In clomping off ; – and scared the outer night,

Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar

Of trees and crack of branches, common things,

But nothing so like beating on a box.

A light he was to no one but himself

Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,

A quiet light, and then not even that.

He consigned to the moon – such as she was,

So late-arising – to the broken moon

Indonesia/ Trinidad (VO)

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 06 octobre 2012. dans La une, Notre monde, Voyages

Indonesia/ Trinidad (VO)

Indonesia is about as far away as one can get from Trinidad or anywhere else on this latitude. It is on the other side of the planet, about twelve thousand miles away. It is the largest Muslim country in the world, an archipelago of about seventeen thousand five hundred islands. I wonder if anyone has really counted. People in Indonesia speak three hundred fifty local languages but they have agreed on a common one, Bahasa Indonesia, which just means Indonesian language. Indonesia is an ancient place with people reaching back in time as far as we know. Recently there was a little humanoid discovered named Flores Man, “the hobbit”, about three feet high. He survived until about twelve thousand years ago and was around, it is thought, for about eighty thousand years before that. We don’t know a lot about our past on this planet. People have had the brain we have and looked like us going back one hundred fifty thousand years but we have no knowledge about what they were doing. I don’t think they were just pounding the ground with a stick. Indonesia was Buddhist and it was Hindu; and it still is to some degree, but basically, as in many places, Islam has taken over. Why is it growing so fast and why is Christianity seeming to fade in the West?

Trinidad (version originale en anglais)

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 23 mars 2012. dans La une, Ecrits

Trinidad (version originale en anglais)


All night the sirens blared and the horns honked as police or ambulances made their way from the “fetes” of carnival in Chaguramas to the hospitals or jails of downtown Port of Spain. “It have only one road in and out and one way at that Rick”, said Ray the security guard on duty at our townhouse complex. “Must have been some shooting Ray” I said,” to account for all that commotion all night long.”      “No Rick. De people faint, fall down. That’s all, nothing bad. It have de bacchanal every night now. It carnival Rick.” “That’s good Ray” I said looking at him affectionately and knowing that he didn’t show up for work the previous day because he was drunk at a bacchanal, causing one of my other buddies, Keith, to work not only all night but then again all day too. Ray has one of those striking faces, a mixture of East Indian and African, black as night with sharp features and shiny skin. When his cap is off you can see the net he wears over the main part of his head- I guess to keep his hair straight- and on side, a long pigtail, Rasta style sticking out.  Ray is sixty-one years old and Keith is sixty five and then there are two young guys, Boxil and Lynch plus one more, Charles, the boss, who looks to be in his fifties.

Trinidad (traduction par Jean-François Vincent)

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 23 mars 2012. dans La une, Ecrits

Trinidad (traduction par Jean-François Vincent)

 

Toute la nuit, les sirènes hurlèrent et les klaxons retentirent alors que les voitures de police et les ambulances se frayaient un chemin à travers les « fêtes » du carnaval à Chaguramas en direction des hôpitaux et des prisons du centre-ville de Port d’Espagne. « Y’a qu’une route pour y aller et en r’venir, Rick, et juste avec une voie » dit Ray, le vigile de garde surveillant le quartier des résidences chics. « Ça a dû canarder, Ray » dis-je « ça explique ce ramdam toute la nuit ». « Non Rick, les gens, y tombent dans les pommes. C’est tout, y’a rien de mal. C’est la nouba toutes les nuits maint’nant. C’est carnaval, Rick ». « C’est bon, Ray » dis-je en le regardant avec affection ; je savais qu’il n’était pas allé travailler la veille parce qu’il s’était saoulé en faisant la nouba ; et un autre de mes potes, Keith, avait dû travailler non seulement toute la nuit, mais par-dessus le marché toute la journée également. Ray a un de ces visages qu’on n’oublie pas, un cocktail afro-indien, noir comme un geai avec des traits accusés et une peau brillante. Quand il enlève sa casquette, on voit le filet qu’il porte sur la majeure partie de la tête pour faire tenir ses cheveux, avec une longue queue de cheval, genre rasta, qui sort sur le côté. Ray a soixante et un ans, et Keith en a soixante-cinq ; avec ça, il y a deux jeunes, Boxil et Lynch, plus un autre, Charles, le patron, qui a l’air d’avoir la cinquantaine.

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