Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Querencia--September and Now

Back in September, I had my high school creative writing students write about their "querencia" which, according to Georgia Heard inWriting Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way
is Spanish for "the wanting place." It's the place where you feel the most comfortable, the most safe. Below is what I wrote about my "querencia" 6 months ago:

I've only been to my querencia once, last April. And ever since that time, I've felt kind of lost, homesick even. When I dream of the perfect place to write, to create, I dream of this place: Fort Warden in Port Townsend, Washington.

I don't know what it is about this place that I've been to once that has entrapped my soul. Is it the cold, spring rain that tastes like sea salt on my tongue? Is it the beach that I walked along, making deep intentations in the sand with the heels of my polka-dotted rain boots? Is it the frost that lay across the carefully groomed green lawn and leafy treas of the fort, turing this place into an icy fairyland before the sun came up and melted it off? Or is it the silence that allowed me to think, to dream?

Really, I don't know what makes this place my querencia. But it is. And I know that as long as I live in this desert state surrounded by noise and little water, that I will always yearn for that other place. I dream of going home to rest.

Tonight, I shared this same idea with my adult creative writing class and I wrote again. Here's what I wrote tonight:

I've thought about my querencia a lot the past few months. When I first wrote about it in September, I had myself convinced that my querencia was in Port Townsend, Washington, a place I had only been to once. It seemed magical to me last April, a place that only existed to feed my soul. And I worried that I would only ever find peace at that place, that I'd only know true happiness there.

Now I've begun to doubt that, perhaps for my mental well-being, because I'm worried that if I never get to spend real time in Port Townsend, I'll never find true happiness.

So, I've begun to wonder if I can find my querencia here. Because it seems to me that maybe querencia is really inside you. Joseph Campbell said that the place of rest, Nirvana, can only be found within ourselves. I think that's what querencia is: it's the place where I can feel at peace, where I can feel the magic of creation, and it's inside me.

I need to find a way to carry my querencia with me all the time, like a little token in my pocket or a charm on a chain around my neck. How can I do this?

So, this is what I'm thinking about right now. How can I carry this peace with me, this comfort and this happiness, wherever I go? What do you, my friends, do? And where do you feel is your querencia?


orangemily said...

When I'm having a crazy day with the kids we walk to the park across the street. Usually it is so calm and the kids are laughing and playing it just soothes me and I come home re-energized. It's not exactly an oasis, but for some mid-week comfort it really hits the spot.

Nicole said...

Anywhere my kids aren't.

Oh wait, did I say that aloud? I do love my kids, really. And sometimes they are actually my inspiration for writing. But sometimes not. Sometimes just sending them to grandma's for a few hours proves to be extremely inspiring. Doest that make me a bad mom?

amanda said...

One of the reasons that I felt so at home at Port Townsend (beyond being surrounded by natural beauty) was being with like-minded people. I have never felt like I "fit" very many places. At Port Townsend I could be myself without feeling judged. Perhaps that would make it my querencia as well.