Last week, I was invited by professor Farzaneh Milani, the director of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, to have a reading of my play "The Bride of Acacias". My trip was intimate, assuring, informative, and hopeful. With her warmth I felt transparent and solid at the same time.
It was raining. A beautiful rain.
I took my journey through architectural buildings to learn what university meant for the inventor of democratic society. It was where I lost her favorite umbrella in the museum. Someone must have found a particular memory in it and tangibly wanted to be protected by its profoundness... and be dissolved in souls intertwined with the shape and color and fabric of it, Perhaps. Rain usually revives the presence of those who are not here anymore, but exist in water and air...
My walk towards University village
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia was designed by Thomas Jefferson as the artchitectural and academic heart of his community of scholars, or what he termed "an Academical Village."
As the phrase suggests, for Thomas Jefferson, learning was an integral part of life. The "academical village" is based on the assumption that the life of the mind is a pursuit for all participants in the University, that learning is a lifelong and shared process, and that interaction between scholars and students enlivens the pursuit of knowledge.
I knew Edgar Allen Poe had lived in one of the rooms around the lawn. I looked for his room. Why? Did he leave something there to be discovered, which made me follow its invisibility and inaudibility?
The room of Edgar Allan Poe has been returned to the 1820s conditions under which he lived.
Then there was opera before delicious Persian dinner with students...The dinner Professor Milani made herself was a total art of gastronomy. ...And the Orpheus...with Shirley Verrett's enchanting voice which always makes me silent to pay my respect to her art.
Picture by graduate student özlem karuc
Then there was a mysterious bond with an exceptional little girl "L". Something unexplainable...something immensely valuable...A gift I received from her...a necklace to put around my neck...Like the rose the little prince tried to protect...
Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his book The Little Prince Quotes: "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."