Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Writers And Their Obsessions, Guest post by Linda Sienkiewicz

Linda K. Sienkiewicz
Joe Vadas, one of the main characters in In the Context of Love, comes of age in the seventies. He’s a big fan of Jim Morrison and The Doors. I’ll let you in on a secret: his obsession is actually my obsession.
When I was a teen in the seventies, Morrison’s voice was like a conduit of love, passion and intensity, and his sudden death only deepened my fixation with him. His poetry and lyricism spoke to me on many levels — I understood and felt his confusion and disillusionment with life, and found solace in poetry, too.
A few years ago, I visited his gravesite in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I had brought a copy of my poetry chapbook, Dear Jim.The title poem speaks to how our obsessions can guide us through the dark times in our lives. Written on Jim’s gravestone is “Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy,” which means “Faithful to his own spirit.” In ancient times, deities who distributed the fate and believed to be life changers were called daimones (daimons). The protector deity that lived inside a person from their birth till death, and took care of their personal evolution and prosperity was called “daimon eaytoy”.
In my poem, I call on Jim to be a guardian angel. 
I really, really wanted to leave my book at his grave.
Unfortunately his gravesite is fenced off, and climbing over it is an offense that could land you in jail. Avi, my tour guide, was a personable artist from the States. Feeling a kinship with him, I excitedly showed him the chapbook, hoping he might help me.
His face lit up. “You should definitely do it.”
“It wouldn’t be littering?” I asked. Avi shook his head and assured me it would be fine. Together, we walked up to the fence.
“Just toss it,” he said. “I’ll be waiting over here.” He smiled as he backed away, as if to say I was on my own.
My heart was pounding. I felt conspicuous among the other tourists, like a rabid fan, still the awkward teenage girl whose kohl-lined, bloodshot eyes saw Jim’s face in every Rorschach blot, who believed she alone could light his fire.
I told myself I had to do this. I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t try. Hoping for the best, I flung it. To my delight, the book landed face up and close enough to Morrison’s grave for onlookers to know its intentions. Avi smiled hugely when he saw it. “That’s perfect. People can see the cover!” he said.
And there it will stay. Maybe another fan who climbs the fence at night to leave flowers for Jim will move it closer. If not, that’s fine. The book will turn to dust, as everything and everyone we love eventually does. We will be remembered for our gestures, the things we leave behind, the dreams we share.
Au revoir, Jim. Till next time…

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