01 June 2009

Let me steep. I want to steep.

After reading a certain article in Vanity Fair, one of my indispensable and surefire sites of inspiration and energy, I’ve a few thoughts. They flow from visions of my imminent college graduation and into another oft-imagined realm of life, the one where you throw all energy into personal endeavors of the sort that moves society: at large and in small underground movements, the ones where voices are repeated outside the boundaries of peer academia and ridiculed school papers. Yes, and on this cusp of shifting life pattern comes also the penetration of technology—a ripe theme in all my courses this final quarter. Technology that sterilizes and de-authenticates human grittiness and experience and ensuing inspiration.

“You didn’t just watch a double feature but steeped like a tea bag in the contemplative dungeon atmosphere,” writes James Wolcott about the physicality of cinema houses in 1970's New York.

I’m talking about the technology which takes the place and the “steeping” out of being in the world. Less cinema house and more dvd; less hole in the wall rental store and more netflix. This is as true for film as it is true for face-to-face sociality in general. For instead, people arein their extended lives--their computers, their internet personas, their narrow vision through which they hope to overcome isolation. The dialogue comes flowing from these virtual spaces only to connect in this non-place with other such hopeful beings. More on spaces soon.

In reading a small scrap about the New Yorker, I remembered a book I have gathering dust on the shelf at my childhood home {and always home} in Portland. It was given to me—along with two other books—upon my high school graduation. This is the sort of gift I laud, the sort of offering I hope to give throughout life—the gift of inspiration, what would take lifetimes to say and experience, verbally translated onto leafs of paper. The great woman who gave these to me has since passed, and now I wish more than ever to see and thank her, Carol Anne. She was my great-aunt, my grandmother’s sister, and a vapid vixen—a one-time great beauty with red lips and slender, shapely legs. She was also an intellectual, outspoken and opinionated, yet graceful. She made up her mind and stuck to her guns. Admirable. We need more women as such.

The only book I have yet to read from her thoughtful offering is a history of the New Yorker, and so this is the first book I will begin upon exiting academia. The first book to begin the rest of my personally designed curriculum, now tailored and fashioned in the way I think all higher—and indeed, lower—education should be. Travel, questions, meditation, inspiration, pain, joy... life, in short, conscious and mindful, challenging and met by a good meal with wine and sometimes friends, sometimes family, sometimes solitude, at the end of the day.

And then to write. For whom? For those who believe in me, for Carol who encouraged me with fellow inspirators and intellectuals, for my mother, for my grandfather who was so proud of me for being no one more than I am, and who I miss so dearly, for my grandmother who has a way with words but will never remember now, for my distant father, for my two cousins so I might guide and inspire them, for my friends so I might fill and arouse in my role. For myself. For future lovers. For humans. Writing for the very sake of writing, because it heals and opens, souls and wounds. 

And just to be. 


Emily said...

really lovely v. really really lovely and real.

V said...

Thanks, Emily! It is, it's a dilemma that we will all probably have to balance--either against or with-- society at large.

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