July 28, 2012

As for this summer rhythm

I realized yesterday that the days of the week mean nothing to me anymore - during the school year waking up to see those precious three letters Fri on the corner of my computer screen brought a rush of those precious happy hormones. But with a scattered work schedule and no outstanding structure otherwise, it finally solidified. I can't wait to go back to school. Now, this would not be the case if school was high school. Sure, maybe a couple of weeks prior to September I would start to feel a mix of dread (at waking up early, the slog of work) and elation (at finally having something to do with myself, seeing friends). But now I find myself counting the days, this time with a mix of excitement and deep-rooted anxiety (making new friends? picking classes? joining extracurriculars? living in New York City? being a college student? Ah!). Needless to say, this summer rhythm is fine, but I'm ready to be again where I am happiest: in a busy, stimulated, whirl.

Here are my summer rhythms. Enjoy!

This Time Tomorrow - The Kinks
Lost In My Mind - The Head and the Heart
Testament To Youth In Verse - The New Pornographers
Bedroom Eyes - Dum Dum Girls
Beginning To See The Light - The Velvet Underground
Lazy Line Painter Jane - Belle & Sebastian
White Nights - Oh Land
Breadcrumb Trail - Buried Beds
I Won't Miss It - Goat Boy
The Future Pt. 1 - Voxtrot
Play With Fire - The Rolling Stones
Montezuma - Fleet Foxes
I Found You - Alabama Shakes
Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) - Peter Sarstedt
Strangers - The Kinks
I Sing I Swim - Seabear
Our Window - Noah and the Whale

July 25, 2012

As for this silence

My summer thus far has featured a lot of silence. I haven't been making an effort to engage with people. The vast majority of the people I would want to spend time with are away, and I am comfortable spending time with myself, so this isn't too bad. What is wearing me down, however, is my lack of emotional engagement. I shouldn't have to point out that this factor is not necessarily satisfied in tandem with the first. It makes me sad. And because my mind is not immersed in academic affairs or assorted projects, this disengagement has become an incidental subject of frequent rumination.

This evening, I wrote this on a streetcorner.

I need to exorcise this loneliness from my bones,
to reprise the purity I once owned.
For I find myself standing here
with every concrete thing to fear
and not knowing if this is hell or home

Later, I spend an hour reading in a coffeeshop. "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" by Joan Didion. I sip cranberry iced tea until it's gone and then I leave. I drive across the bridge, roll down my windows, play sad acoustic songs by female vocalists until I can feel the chords. The clouds turn pink and blue as the sun sets, but it's out of my sight. My mind wanders back to the boys of my time. I wonder sometimes if I meant something different to them than they meant to me - the fleeting, fervent kisses in cramped cars or en plein air. Was it ever about them? I don't think so. I wish it could have been. Those adventurous, sad, sweet reliefs. But in my silence I feel sad for what was; older, more distanced.

It's odd to know with utmost certainty what has happened. Because high school was a phase of life, and my experiences were my own. And these formative, defining, deeply meaningful experiences are somehow slapped with the label of 'high school experiences.' They are not to be trivialized, yet I feel farther away from them.

July 22, 2012

As for this midsummer lull

Well, it's officially midsummer and I find myself (again) in the lull of routine. The weather is nice, I feel good, work isn't so bad, yoga is invigorating, the books are compelling. Of course I would rather be involved or stressing about something concrete because I'm crazy but I suppose I will have double the normal dose of all that in the upcoming school year. So I guess I should just listen to common sense and appreciate this already! Right? Ok. 

Of course, as is the case whenever I have nothing to do and spend extended periods of time in solitude, I have just been experiencing and discovering things I like. All year I’ve been hearing great things and reading great reviews and analyses of Lena Dunham’s Girls. Obviously, as the kind of person who likes things such as this (i.e. Rookie), I could not wait to get my eyes on it. I had seen her film, Tiny Furniture earlier this year and re-watched it recently with my mother in preparation. It's honest, it's raw, and what I like best about Dunham's writing is that it so clearly portrays relationships between young women and their friends, their partners, and themselves. I find that even though most of her characters are post-graduate and her writing is semi-autobiographical, the way these women approach life is so relatable, inspiring, and realistic. I highly recommend it to any women reading this (and I guess the guys too, if you're thick-skinned enough). Be warned, none of her material is 'safe for work' and nearly all of it has the potential to make you uncomfortable. Needless to say, I watched the entirety of the first season of Girls in 3 days. The four main female characters are nuanced portrayals of typical post-grad and female stereotypes. I loved it and can't wait for more. P.S. The soundtrack is impeccable. 

I've also been reading so much ever since summer began. I find that this is the time where I have the opportunity to get some of the big literary hits under my belt - members of the canon who I somehow never got around to in high school. My to-read and have-read book lists are up on Goodreads

Once August comes around, I'm going to start reading The Iliad for school and studying French for placement tests. It's starting to become a little more real for me, the fact that I'm going to college and Columbia in just one month. I keep looking up photos of the campus and profiles of students, imagining the many different possible incarnations of myself that could come to pass in the following four years. I look at photos of the reading rooms inside Butler Library and picture myself toiling away in them, I imagine myself on the subway to an internship, meeting friends downtown, somehow existing in this city where something monumental happens to some extent every day. Being in the thick of it. It seems surreal. 

July 7, 2012

As for summer limbo

This is my summer in limbo: in-betweens, fade-aways, the squeezed summer.

In summers past there've been an abundance of anxieties and plans to extoll on those quintessential long walks on the beach I always take with my mother and friends. What teachers or classes we might get, what girls or boys we might get closer to (just maybe!), what we might accomplish. More than that, there were the constant college preparatory discussions to have, decisions to be made, and plans to plan.

Next summer I see fodder for these talks abounding: what classes I plan on taking, courses of study I plan on pursuing, fellowships and internships I hope to get, and teachers I aim to turn into mentors. And that's only school related. There are the girls and boys (as always), the culture, the life in New York City.

But this summer is my summer of limbo. I am unsure of what to anticipate, without any concrete plans or decisions to ponder. I am saddled with time - waiting. And yet I know this period without the weight of responsibilities and career-planning is a gift I will perhaps miss in summers to come. But I know myself. I know whenever I hope for the freedom to be lazy and finally get it, I cannot appreciate it for long and easily sicken of it. I crave plans and accomplishments and the excitement of a tangible future.

But as for now, here's to my summer of limbo.

July 4, 2012

As for beachtimes

Ah. Beach. We've been going to this island every summer for the past 6 or 7 years for 2 weeks each time - at this frequency, it never gets old. I'm writing this right now in my bathing suit, lying on the sand, on my phone. Finished reading Middlesex by Eugenides yesterday (favorite contemporary author, I trust him to no end) and just started my first Joan Didion. My whole self is mellow, there's no way around it. It's especially weird to think of what I was preoccupied with in recent years here, though. I remember researching colleges on CollegeProwler, doing AP Bio summer homework, tapping out application essay inspiration on my phone.

Things are just so nice. I've been ploughing through books, drinking white wine or a gin and tonic before dinner and, adherent to tradition, frequenting Ben & Jerry's nearly every day. Now, today (Wednesday), I stayed home to chill and heal from some sunburn, but I've just been listening to podcasts and reading Cat's Cradle. I love this place. Life is pretty nice. Four years ago, Katherine and I discussed our high school fears and apprehensions during our long walks up and down the beach, last year we talked about applications and dreams, this year we found ourselves talking about the future again - except this time with more information and plans. Yet still those fears and apprehensions. I guess that's the one thing that will never change.

This place has become such a touchstone. It never changes. There is a routine in place - the beach, the shower, outdoor dinners, games and tv, the occasional morning donut bugs. Late afternoon drinks, long walks on the beach, floating on boogie boards. I love it, I languish in it. And the thing is, if I continued it for more than 2 weeks, I would become sick of it. But to keep coming back here as I keep changing and aging and my life continues its metamorphosis has become a really beautiful and grounding tradition.