Writing Trigger: Lucky me. I saw the Alvin Ailey American Dance theatre at Sadler’s Wells last night and I can now die a happy woman. The English do not do standing ovations. They clap. They might clap heartily, their hands face-high or in cases of extreme delight, their hands above their heads, but they do not stand.
Well last night, the audience stood. It was a transcendental moment. Seeing an African-American dance troupe speak to the African-American experience with such athleticism, discipline, grace, and beauty makes you belive that anything is possible. If you are a London reader, they are at Sadler’s Wells through the 25th – beg or borrow a ticket.
- Write about a transcendental moment in your life.
- Or, write about a moment when the scales fell from your eyes.
Most of my transcendental moments begin with a work of art, dance, a play, a book. Anything that takes me outside my head – my head a small enclosed space that doesn’t take me very far.
One such piece of art is the new window (designed by the female, Iranian artist, Shirazeh Houshiary) at St. Martin’s in the Field, Trafalgar Square. The window is clear glass (as are all the windows in the church). The inside of the church shimmers with light that plays off the Jersey cream walls and the extensive gold leaf. Unlike larger, darker, stained glass churches which tend to close you in with rules, regulations and doctrine, the light and the expansiveness inside St. Martin’s opens you up.
Looking at the window behind the altar, you are drawn as though by a magnetic force to the oval opening which seems to suck you out of the church building and into the greater universe. As the leaded lines approach the oval shape, they swell. The optical illusion pulls you out of yourself and into a fifth dimension.
The density of the leaded, vertical and horizontal lines at the center suggest a cross or a crossroads. Either way, I like the fact that the interpretation is my choice.
I am left thinking of the American Transcendentalists, Emerson and Thoreau. Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, 1836:
“Sanding on the bare ground – my head bathed in blithe air and uplifted into infinite space- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.”