Poet, Playwright, Workshop Facilitator
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Welcome to daily nature photo and creative writing blog, #NewThisDay

Welcome to my daily nature photo blog

Writing from My Photo Stream ~ Kelly DuMar


#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream

Charles River

Charles River

Today's wise choices: snow shoes and The New Yorker fiction podcast. The dogs and I want to start from home and hit the wooded trails and it will be tough going on skis over trees and branches. The snow is softer and we crunch out to the river, it's deep and rippling in a light breeze. The black branches of the tree shimmy and dazzle in their reflection. It's another blue sky day, it's spring, actually, but there's another impending storm. It may be possible to ski right into April.

Yesterday, I listened to the New Yorker fiction podcast while I skied, a recording of Nicole Krass' short story: Seeing Ershadi. I liked it so much, was so moved and intrigued, I wanted to listen again today, particularly since the ending made so much of what had mystified me about the story and the narrator clear – the discovery, not until the final paragraph, of its feminist sensibility. Analyzing a short story I'm listening to is so different from reading. No back flipping of pages to glimpse the beginning again, to backtrack over paragraphs to check details and find sense. I must listen, again, to the story in its entirety, now that the theme has been revealed. 

The first thing I realize is that this is ekphrastic fiction: inspired by a real film – not one I have heard of or seen, so I had missed so much by not realizing this.

Taste of Cherry

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Produced by Abbas Kiarostami
Written by Abbas Kiarostami
Starring Homayoun Ershadi

Release date
May, 1997 (Cannes)
September 28, 1997 (New York Film Festival)
January 30, 1998 (U.S.) 1997 film by the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. It is a minimalist film about a man who drives through a city suburb looking for someone who can carry out the task of burying him after he commits suicide. It was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
— Wikipedia
Film Poster

Film Poster

Now that I'm listening to the story with a feminist sensibility, understanding the protagonist's struggle for agency, identity and her own inspiration, in a world where artistic vision in film (and dance) is dominated by male writers, directors, cameramen, choreographers and actors, every word in the story I half registered the first time rings with new significance.

Enclosed on all sides, breathing in the dizzying stench of perfume, and listening to the guide’s relentlessly incomprehensible explanations, I began to feel claustrophobic. But before I could try to elbow my way out more violently, the women suddenly started to move again, and by flattening myself against the wall of the abbot’s residence I managed to stay put, forcing them to move around me.
— Nicole Krauss, "Seeing Ershadi," published in "The New Yorker"

It's also a story of friendship lasting between artistic women over decades, and how motherhood and marriage contribute to new insights, shifting awarenesses of old paradigms.

How much time we wasted, she wrote, believing that things came to us as gifts, through channels of wonder, in the form of signs, in the love of men, in the name of God, rather than seeing them for what they were: strengths that we dragged up from the nothingness of our own depths.
— Nicole Krauss, "Seeing Ershadi," published in "The New Yorker"

At first, when I realized "Taste of Cherry" was a real film, I wanted to see it, because the retelling of the film, and how it was made, and how it impacts the protagonist and her close friend, is central to the plot. Now, I realize I don't want or need to see the film. What I want is to listen to Krauss' story again, and again.

Beech Leaves

Beech Leaves

All text and photos copyright Kelly DuMar 2018 unless otherwise attributed