Ramblings: One Friday evening in August


Just a set of ramblings on a Friday evening at home…

I was walking to the shop earlier, listening to Fast Car by Tracy Chapman, and started thinking about how I always dream about getting into a car one day and just driving, no real destination in mind, just driving somewhere different. I don’t mean by that that I would just drive off and never come back, but that I appreciate the idea that I could just go off and explore somewhere new at a moment’s notice. Well, I could if I could drive. Not that the minor issue of not being able to drive has ever stopped me – trains and planes and buses are just as easy to get away on. In any case, all that got me thinking about freedom, and the freedom of being able to do what we want in life. I have that freedom, and I couldn’t imagine anything else nowadays. I always say this is my home, but a day could come when I just decide that I need something different. Maybe a beach house in Central America or Hawaii. A place where the sun shines more often than it rains and where I can walk around barefoot most of the day. Maybe another trip to India, or one to a country in Africa. I don’t know, thoughts like this always help me keep my inner peace in check. Even just the idea of still being able to go off on an adventure of some sort keeps me happy. I should start planning something for when it gets cold here, an adventure to a place where I have never been before and where it will be warm and full of hibiscus flowers. I’m a little obsessed with the beauty of the hibiscus. I don’t even mind going somewhere alone – the idea of not having to speak to people too much for a week or so is quite enticing.

It’s been a year today that I did my disappearing act and walked away from a life I had turned into a prison. What an interesting year, so much has happened and so much has been thought about. I know I will never regret what I did, even on those days when I have done a double at work and when my legs hurt and my brain just wants to sleep. Even when I only have one day off a week, and on that day just feel like staying at home and listening to my own thoughts as opposed to listening to others talk about theirs for hours on end. I love my life, there is no question about it. This is what life is supposed to be about, the freedom to do whatever we want. We are all responsible in some way for how our life turns out, so we may as well make it as fun as possible. On this day last year we were all waiting for a hurricane to hit the city… In a way it feels like so much longer than just a year to be honest. Many many moons have gone by since then. 

I’ve been watching an old English TV show on Netflix from the late 80’s called Wish Me Luck. Every time that I think that I have exhausted the WW2 fiction I always find something else that catches my eye and hooks me in. This series is in three seasons and is mainly about a group of British agents that are sent into France to join the Résistance. It’s pretty well done, although I will always find it weird when characters are speaking in English when you know you are supposed to imagine them speaking in French. Anyway, I started watching the final season when it struck me that it was filmed in the exact location that I grew up in in France. The views were the exact ones that I would see when I opened the shutters of my apartment every morning and the villages were the same ones I used to go through all the time, or very similar to those in any case. It was filmed in the middle of the Vercors, and the story line is basically taken from real life events that happened when the maquis in 1944, when they rose against the Germans and were squashed, as it was deemed more important to send aid to Normandy during the landings rather than to a bunch of French résistants. It’s a story I grew up hearing about and always one that I have been a little obsessed with, so it’s pretty cool to actually see it depicted on TV (and filmed on location). It makes me miss France a lot though… Maybe I need a little French escape soon too. Mountains o’ mountains of things

For the past month I have been wondering whether to give up on this novel for a while, and write more short stories. I’m thinking about a collection of stories on the LES over the past 7 years, more personal ones than fiction of course, just because I’m really inspired by the idea right now. I’ve been writing more poems again, and am quite happy with the compilation I put together a few weeks ago. But I’ve been really procrastinating about the novel and haven’t finished a chapter in over two months. Today I had the bright idea of maybe just using each chapter I have already written as a set of short stories as this would eliminate the worry of making sure the plot flows through each chapter correctly. But then today I read some of the chapters I had written earlier this year and they are better than I thought they were, and it gave me hope that maybe it still is a good idea and I just need to push on with it and finish it this year. I’ll see. I don’t think I can completely give up on it just yet. But in the mean time I will start on the other plans I have in mind and see what they turn in to.






Of natural disasters and changes in life... Part 2

I'm going to preface this by saying the following: I am NOT saying that Hurricane Irene was a non-event, or not assuming that a lot of damage occurred and people were hurt. Nobody wants to wish any type of devastation on anyone.

However, Irene was a little bit of a disappointment to a lot of New Yorkers. There we were bracing for a hurricane to hit is full blast, and it didn't really happen. A lot of heavy rain and wind, but that was it really. Maybe the media blew it up, or maybe Mother Nature decided to spare us this time... We will never know, but I do know now, that if we ever have a situation like this again, the city is more than prepared to handle it.
We were all stocked up with food, batteries, candles, water and books, but in the end we didn't really need it. I now have enough ziplock bags with ice cubes to last me a long time!
I have a strange attraction to violent weather, and I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Strong winds resemble what I feel freedom should really feel like... If you get my drift.

And referring to freedom, well, I have done something that I have been threatening to do for years. For the past six years my entire life has revolved around one main centre, and I am leaving this centre, for the unknown. I am doing it in a very abrupt, and maybe not very professional fashion, but after a lot of very long thinking sessions, including conversations with those closest to me, it's the only way. It would be too hard for me to say "NO" if I am confronted with a question about my decision, so I chose the silent way out. All I have to say is that I hope that whoever is left with finishing off anything I started doesn't hate me too much, or at least understand why.

I don't think I need explain my actions any further - but I think that this is the only way I can feel free again - and there is only one reason why I was feeling trapped here. It's a huge change and this is going to make a lot of things different moving forward.

I'm excited and completely terrified.

This song used to describe the way I felt every day - now I am making the change:

Of natural disasters and changes in life... Part 1

It's been a few months of many thoughts and ideas, sleepless nights and tossing and turning. And finally, of seemingly impulsive, but actually well thought-out decisions. More about that another time, as the thought of it all is making my stomach churn slightly, and I don't want to put anything in writing until it is done.
Moving back to what I initially wanted to write about... Change. Around this time ten years ago I was waiting to start my MA courses, looking for a thesis idea or 10, loving my apartment, my life, my friends and my teaching/tutoring job. And then 9/11 happened. One day I was going about my daily activities, and the next I was watching 2 planes fly straight into the World Trade Center towers, and subsequently see them fall to the ground, into a cloud of dust, with my own eyes. As we all know this triggered off a set of major events in the world, most of which are still going on today, with no real positive outcome in sight. At the same time my idealist view of the human being was shattered into a million pieces, and I fell into a deep state of despair, culminating into depression that I couldn't run away from.
Ultimately this state of depression lead to a positive outcome, leading me away from the dream-like world I had created for myself, which included blinkers to anything that didn't correspond to my vision of what the world should be, and, finally, culminating into me being able to consolidate my idealism with the real world, and now to move towards using my ideals to maybe make at least some kind of difference. But it was a long road to get here, from that feeling of utter helplessness to one of strength.

And now it's time for another chapter, hopefully it won't take ten years for this one to close.

All that to really say: this week I sat through a 5.8 earthquake on the 40th floor of a high rise in Manhattan, watched (via Al Jazeera) a dictator of 41 years be removed from power (Gaddafi in Libya of course) and am now waiting for Hurricane Irene to pass right over my head sometime tonight or tomorrow morning. If this doesn't say that a change is needed, then I don't know what does!

I shall update on Irene tomorrow (if we still have power), as right now it's just bouts of heavy rain and a little wind.