Continued from Day 53…
We stepped out of the elevator – a hand reached out to help us scale the extra distance. When I landed, both feet on concrete floor, I had indeed arrived into a magical realm. The walls flickered like flames. Flowers sprouted from stones. Tapestries floated across tables. I met Carolyn, dressed in red silk, celebrating the year of the Snake. I fell into the generous embrace of my friend Kim in black velvet.
A giant Scot rendered me Lilliputian. He, the keeper of the whiskey, promised to introduce me to the elixir of his land. I talked with others who had gathered for the evening. We discovered common friends, shared interests as we filled our empty bellies with tapas, preparing for or defending against the upcoming consumption of alcohol.
Gradually we moved to the chairs, couches and pillows positioned around a large table laid with dozens of small, shapely glasses and dozens of candles placed together to form a pulpit. Johnnie the Scot, stood before the pulpit, introduced himself and had us introduce ourselves to those seated nearby. Satisfied that we were bonding as a group, he began. An Auchentoshan Single Malt was the first of the four lowland Scotch Whiskeys we would be tasting. While he poured he gave a combined geography and history lesson about this particular Whiskey. We held our glasses eager to taste. We sniffed – deeply, not so deeply, mouth closed, mouth open. We learned how to drink. Then we tipped our glasses and allowed the Whiskey to loll on our tongue, roll around our mouth before it slid down our eager throats. We’d had a taste of Whiskey, time for poetry.
Adrian Wyatt, the featured poet, started the readings. Her words were surprising, evocative and intimidating. Whether it was the Whiskey or just the atmosphere which cradled us in acceptance, by the end of the evening each person had tasted four different Whiskey and had risen to recite or to read (from smart phone as often as from a book or paper).
After everyone had read, Adrian shared more of her poems, book-ending the evening with language that lifted us. Yet the night wasn’t over. We had created an Exquisite Corpse. Now it was time to revive it. Adrian unfurled the paper which had circulated and to which each person had added a line. She held the paper up to the largest candle and squinted at the lines written by twenty different hands. Then she read. Our single lines leapt off the page, circulated the room, united us as a creative whole.
I had entered the room as a guest and been transformed into a poet. I had indeed stepped into a magical realm.