Let’s Talk with Tina Whittle

Mementos
By Tina Whittle

Tina Whittle headshotOne afternoon along the Mississippi, I became the girl who reads tarot.

It was in New Orleans, of course, the land of beignets and chicory coffee and lagniappe. I was at an academic conference with my friends from the university where I taught. These were the same people I passed in the halls, the ones I shared conversations with about pedagogy and syllabi, my skeptical intellectual friends. And yet there we all were, on the banks of the Big Muddy, tarot cards spread out onto picnic blankets. Reading our futures in the light of the setting sun.

I wonder now if this me still lives in New Orleans – uninhibited, unembodied, literally a free spirit. I think of theories of consciousness and know that my soul has expanded to include her. I am bigger now, in some way, because I was this me for one afternoon.

Yes, I remember New Orleans. I wonder sometimes, does New Orleans remember me?

I had a similar feeling recently while walking through Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery, that lovely Spanish-moss-draped graveyard along the Wilmington River. Every headstone told a story. Every rock and osprey and rumble of tires on gravel also told a story. And I was there, a story too.

In the study of criminal investigations, I learned about Locard’s Principle, the idea that you never leave a place without both changing it and being changed by it physical evidence-wise. You always take something with you; you always leave something behind.

What places have you visited recently that have changed you? What did you take with you? What did you leave behind?

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