Category Archives: Journal

our good friends, Ben and Tim

“They were the creatures of history, whose coming together was of a nature possible in no other day—the day was inherent in the nature… The relation of people to one another is subject of each to time, to what is happening… The more imperative the love, the deeper its drafts on beings, till it has taken up all that ever went to their making, and according to what it draws on its nature is.”

Elizabeth Bowen, The Heat of The Day

*This is a continuation of London Ramblings pt 1, and pt 2, on Basic England and pt 3, Edinburgh, Scotland, and pt 4, Lost and Stolen in Amsterdampt 5, Brighton: Pier and Pride 

We spent our last night back at The Globe and reminisced about the full-circle we had made. While  my fellows conversed lovingly about the memories, I sat in bitter contempt about the literary-ness of this circle. How dare they allow this to have an ending? I felt we would leave and the glue of our shared homelessness would dissolve the second we exchanged the last of our pounds for dollars. I ached for the all-too-familiar feeling of uprootedness and I was angry with myself for falling back into the illusion of comfort.

I could have told you a story about how I learned the importance of experiential learning or that I came back a more cultured person, but that seems like a lie by omission. There is something human and essential about looking intently at historical and inward wars, and there is blessing in being able to do so alongside books and people. I’ve held these memories inside for safekeeping. I still haven’t gone through all of my photos and I can’t bear to open my journals or class notes. I think I am afraid of what I won’t find, or that maybe the associations and sentiments are only in my head. Maybe London wasn’t that awesome or maybe, by putting it on paper, it will crystallize and uproot. But ending a story is a worthy endeavor. Home is, indeed, in your head. The world is, indeed, an orphan’s home, and it is such an incredible thing to be able to see it and be in it and remember it.

 

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Ramblings pt. 2: Basic England

“Yet I suppose it was not like that at all really. One changes everything after by going over it”“But the real thing,” she said, getting her teeth into this, for she liked arguments… “the real thing is the picture you carry in your eye afterwards, surely? It can’t be what you can’t remember. Can it? “I don’t know” he said, “only the point about the blitz is this, there’s always something you can’t describe, and it’s not the blitz that’s true of. Ever since it happened I feel I’ve been trying to express all sorts of things”

-Henry Green, Caught 

If you have talked to me in the last year, you know I have an irrational attachment to Last July, my month in London. Pardon me for bringing it up again. While there I wrote a fragmented thing about my experiences up to that point. I quickly ran through the photos and jotted down the main points. I did this with the intention of having a partner piece, which would cover the happenings of the second half of the trip, featuring a full exposition of photographs, and even perhaps round off the month into a fine conclusion that is only possible through extrapolated hindsight. I haven’t done this for several reasons: the first being by inclination to procrastinate (I have yet to go through and post all of the pictures from a trip to Africa in 2013 lol); the second being an irrational fear of crystallizing and weaning my experience, which has been breathing and heaving as illusory nostalgia in my psyche. There is something sacred about going somewhere else; not quite there, but somewhere between gone and having been.

While in London I did everything you are supposed to do. So much of it was really very basic. In the spirit of a class over romantic novels places during World War II, we visited the Imperial War Museum and Winston Churchill’s War rooms and I obsessively read a poem called “In Distrust of Merits” by Marianne Moore, which asserts “There was never a war that was not inward; I must / fight till I have conquered in myself what / causes war.” I took another a class over Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and English homes, leading me to obsessively read Virginia Wolf, and join her “in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life.” London brought the joy of learning and walking simultaneously—through the actual city and through neighboring countries—both literally and imaginatively. More than the actual city itself, London represents an uprooted-ness for me, one that recalls the joy found in portability, in other places and terrains. The same class took us to Chawton where we visited Jane Austen’s home and saw an original manuscript of one of her childhood plays, and to Chatsworth where we had high tea and consumed scones in bulk. The associations I have with London are appropriately dramatic, as they consist mainly of the joy discovered in inquiring of the relationship between lands and people and history and war, and an individual life to each; in short, the joy in the basic-ness of movement.

So Here I begin my complete ramblings, beginning with England. Ramblings of Amsterdam, Scotland, and back to London will follow soon!

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Si Se Puede

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Millennials are under a lot of pressure to be relevant. I guess you could say that my crew and I fell victim to this societal pressure. “Be of the earth” they told us. “You should love camping,” said a faint voice from a model in an REI catalog. “Make your summer memorable,” implied every Facebook post from fellow students occupied by internships and Africa.

So we succumbed and went to Austin. We “camped.” We assembled a tent. That tent was large and it did not take rain well. The tent leaked and cratered. We leaked and cratered. We packed our things, went to LynDe’s apartment, and ordered 3 thin crust pepperoni pizzas from Dominos.

Take this as a satire on “granola,” because that is the only thing that would justify what we put ourselves through.

London Ramblings pt. 1

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I have been in London and its surrounding areas now for two weeks, but traveling and constant movement somehow have a way of making time a forever flying and absent thing. No ensuing thought is coherent or complete, so rambling is the vehicle I will take in order to shore some of these fragments against my ruins:

-Americanos are prevalent.

-I was at one point in a room alone with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. I reacted by tiny-squealing and throwing my hand over my mouth. {They loved my mouse-like femininity and now John is teaching me how to grow and groom an “incognito beard” as magnificent as his own.}

– I fell asleep on a toilet. Do with that information what you will.

-Last week I was walking around Marylebone and realized I was very, very lost (as I often find myself realizing, both physically and emotionally). I sat on the curb and pulled out my guidebook that I hate because it says LONDON in big letters on the front, revealing my complete inability to blend as an urban/British human. A homeless man came up and exclaimed, “That is my seat, but I will sit several feet from you so that you know I am not a threat.” I hadn’t thought of him as a threat, but his comment led me to be further reassured that he wasn’t. [~Obviously I am a very trusting person, full of grace and love~]. After telling him that I was studying English Lit he proceeded to recite Shakespeare and John Donne. He really loved John Donne, as implied by his repeatedly referring back to Donne’s concept of good love vs evil love. He spoke very eloquently about the differences between these two loves and emphasized how important of a tool the Holy Spirit was in determining the difference between the two. He talked poetically about a pigeon that looked like a dove and about the Lord’s everlasting supplication. He encouraged me very specifically by name and claimed he knew I was smart because I continued to listen and respond to him (which is the perfect indicator for determining intelligence- whoever listens to you must be smart, right?). He told me I would travel and become an excellent essayist and journalist. He recommended that I watch the movie Blood Diamond and that I make sure not to fall in love with a boy just because he is big and strong and handsome. I was invigorated by his resource-less wisdom and evident human resilience; I thought, “he is so oddly coherent and pungent in diction.” Finally we stood to shake hands and say our good byes. He gave me an up down and exclaimed with enthusiasm that made me happier than I would like to admit, “Shit, Jesus gave you good legs!” I wish I could say that I scoffed or slapped him or something but I am pretty sure I blushed and I am very sure that I replied, “I KNOW, right??”

-Whisky.

-Working the tube gives one more confidence than the Most Interesting Human in the World Award gives Hugh Laurie. And being made out upon (note that the proposition I used was unfortunately not “with”), is as disheartening as a dying baby squirrel.

-Just now a barista exclaimed “I hate Americans, I haven’t ever even kissed one. They don’t have enough humanity and they don’t get sarcasm.” I so badly want to scream “TS ELIOT, ALLEN GINSBERG, WS MERWIN.” #merica. L O L. I am gonna GTFO before my americanness a severely uninteresting and shallow scene.

Surely there will be more to come.

Till then, Cheers.

-ej