I've been Facebook friends with Joan Stepp Smith for over a year, maybe. We've had very little interaction. All I have to go by are some photos, comments left here and there, and some stuff on her page. Yet this morning, I'm compelled by forces beyond my comprehension to write something about Joan Stepp Smith.
I like to start writing stuff about which I know very little. It opens up a space for imagination and gives free rein to my wandering mind.
She seems to like the writings of author Kris Saknussemm. That means something to me. She likes the Bergman films Wild Strawberries and Winter Light. That goes deep with me.
So...photos. I see a person who is self-aware and almost completely sane. By "sane," I mean someone who appears to know the world is not sane. It's more like a wild circus, with clowns running everything. While the artists -- those talented hi-wire acrobats -- are left to perform their amazements mostly in the shadows. I think Joan probably owns a pair of magical sunglasses. Ones that, paradoxically, allow her to see the real souls doing special stuff in those shadow regions.
So...comments. I've only come across a few of them, on my page and on other pages. The infrequency of her words lends a special, thoughtful luster to them. No, "luster" is only the afterglow. The immediate sense is one of voltage. Of intense yet contained electricity. Little lightning flashes of intelligence, arcing from her mind via words onto pages.
This is important. It's important for me to nail down that quality of rare utterance. It's almost like a wondrous ghost wafting in unexpectedly and speaking from another world. A world of silence and poise. You pay attention when something unusual is happening.
Maybe part of it has to do with syntax. Perfect, to-the-point sentences. No wasted effort. No burdensome, irksome prolixity. Succinctness. Coiled expression. Thoughtful saying. The core of me quivers when I encounter sophistication and deep intelligence.
Joan's words arc, sending sparks of meaning across the cyber gulf. Especially when she speaks about music.
Oh...and Joan is a poet. She has a collection of poems available here:
IN A PASTURE WITH PALOMINOS