Mark Pryor - Author/Lawyer/Assistant DA Travis County TXMonday, February 25, 2013
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Mark Pryor - Author/Lawyer/Assistant District Attorney Travis County TX
You see, red isn't my color. I have a red sweater that I like but I won't be photographed in it. It makes me look lumpy and portly and... unappealing.
So a red shawl? Crikey.
But I was flattered, honored to be asked and I wondered, what was the project about? Just a shawl? I didn't know but I suspected not, so I read the funny, touching, meaningful words others wrote to get an idea. I suppose I could have intuited his reasoning or thought long and hard and come up with a theory, but I delved into other accounts, others' interpretations, because I'm a lawyer by trade, so in many ways a literalist, and my artistic side sometimes needs coaxing, cajoling to make it appear. It's in there, like my soft, romantic side is in there, but I carry a badge and wear a tie during the days so I need something bright to draw those elements out of me, and maybe something safe to cover them, or hide behind. Ah yes, like a bright, warm, red shawl. I get it.
Those stories, I'm flicking back and forth to them as I write, they are about people I would like, I think, people who I'll never meet but who I now have a connection with, and I think it's wonderful. That shawl reminds me, in some ways, of my books. I'll never know most of the people who read them but we have a connection, something in common, something to talk about should we meet. And so it is with Alex and his shawl. (Of course, for my books I got to choose the author photo, and please notice I'm wearing a black sweater, and therefore look neither lumpy nor portly). And Alex himself, who looked me up after reading my novel. We spent an hour together in Austin. Is he the most interesting man in the world? If not, he probably knows the man that is. And we know each other now, because of stories, one that I wrote and ones that he's putting together to go with his photographs, stories and pictures that connect the participants and the readers, too. That thrills me and I can't even articulate properly why.
Stories, like the ones that I put in books and like the little ones told under the red shawl, they do that, don't they? Like the shawl they connect strangers, in real time or emotionally, and like the shawl they can make you feel silly about your vanities and weaknesses, your failures and disappointments, because others have those too, sometimes worse. And if they don't, well, stories and pictures can enrich by making you laugh and connecting you with others. Oh yes, obvious, I know. Glaring. Ah, like a red shawl, I get it.
I want to meet some of Alex's friends now. I want to meet the dominatrix (the photo soulful, her words utterly perfect, genius even: "The only thing I will not do is writing of any sort. Sorry..."), and I want to meet the lady who had cancer (are you okay?) and the poet (how do you do that? I wish I could write poetry). As as I read their stories I wondered, How come Alex didn't want me nude? But not for long. Mostly I was glad he didn't, and was happy to be a part of his project. He's connecting us with the past, I get that, but he's connecting us in the present. I like that a lot.
If he comes back, I think I'll wear a different sweater, maybe the black one, but I will be more than happy to wear that shawl again. I know now that red can suit me.
Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, CSC Mentor & Teacher
Veronica Vex Burlesque Dancer
George McWhirter Poet
Raúl Guerrero Montemayor Padre-Compadre
Alexandra Waterhouse-Hayward Maestra
Shirley Gnome Singer/Provocateur
Yeva & Thoenn Glover Dancers/Choreographers
JJ Lee Writer
Cathy Marsden Psychiatrist
André De Mondo Wanderer
Colin MacDonald Saxophonist/Composer
Nina Gouveia Yoga Instructor
Stacey Hutton Excercise Physiologist
Colleen Wheeler Actor
Sarah Rodgers Actor, Director,Mother
Kiera Hill Dancer
Johnna Wright & Sascha Director/Mother - Son/Dreamer
Decker & Nick Hunt Cat & 19th century amateur
George Bowering Poet
Celia Duthie Gallerist
Linda Lorenzo Mother
Katheryn Petersen Accordionist
Stefanie Denz Artist
Ivette Hernández Actress
Byron Chief-Moon Actor/Dancer
Colin Horricks Doctor
Ian Mulgrew Vancouver Sun Columnist
Jocelyn Morlock Composer
Corinne McConchie Librarian
Rachel Ditor Dramaturg
Patrick Reid Statesman, Flag Designer
Michael Varga CBC Cameraman
Bronwen Marsden Playwright/Actress/Director
David Baines Vancouver Sun Columnist
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward Photographer
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart Student
Sandrine Cassini Dancer/Choreographer
Meredith Kalaman Dancer/Choreographer
Juliya Kate Dominatrix