Our first visitor to the Beached Whale Salon, which is a dirty streetcorner cast with the hopeful glow of a distant U-HAUL sign and that witching-hour expectation of a New Orleans evening right before urine hits the sidewalks, is poet DeWitt Brinson.
“DeWitt Brinson is” reads the text in his bio. And that is an apt introduction to a man I met in 2007, both of us new to Louisiana. He welcomed me to the house we shared at the time with two other people with a large laminated banner that read, “Welcome to the other LA.” I moved from Los Angeles to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to attend the LSU MFA program with DeWitt and another visitor to the Beached Whale Salon, who will be introduced tomorrow.
I’m prompted to explore pressing questions of art and happiness when I’m around DeWitt, and I am proud to say that I feel like our conversations just get better and better the further we travel in time and space from that first meeting as naive graduate students who shared a love for office supplies and a penchant for signage and lamination.
Where do we find the dividing line between our true selves and those people who inhabit the world around us?
Is it a line, after all, or a webby sac?
And shame, judgment, inauthenticity–how do we detect when these culprits to productivity and joy sneak into one’s life?
DeWitt-crafted hyperempathy creeps deep into my mind and heart, and these thoroughfares are paved with a smooth slate surface. No shoes required. I enjoy traveling to DeWitt-land, and I am sure you will, too.