light

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Traveling Light
by Linda Pastan

I’m only leaving you
for a handful of days,
but it feels as though
I’ll be gone forever—
the way the door closes

behind me with such solidity,
the way my suitcase
carries everything
I’d need for an eternity
of traveling light.

I’ve left my hotel number
on your desk, instructions
about the dog
and heating dinner. But
like the weather front

they warn is on its way
with its switchblades
of wind and ice,
our lives have minds
of their own.

in pursuit of…

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I created this blog a while ago and at first it was called “Constant Vigilance” because I thought I was being super funny, but really I was just being dorky because no one understood it. I later decided that I should change the name to something more fitting, although it’s rather fitting that I would change the name. So why “In pursuit”? Pursuit is such an interesting word. It is “an action of following someone or something” or, in Physiology, “the action of the eye following a moving object”. I’m not exactly following a specific someone or something, but I guess I’m sort of like the eye following a moving object. I’m just not sure what the moving object is. Or perhaps the moving object just keeps changing.

I don’t really know what I’m going after, but I’m going after something. I love learning about things and meeting people and going places and trying new activities and listening to different music. I sometimes feel like a sponge, and I just want to absorb everything on the kitchen counter. Every day I have a new goal or idea or plan to do something or go somewhere or learn something.

I don’t mind it, though. I enjoy getting really interested in something for about a week and learning a lot about it and then finding something else I’m interested it. I always hold on to whatever I learn and sometimes pick back up with whatever it was I was interested in that was then abandoned. I think this used to drive my parents absolutely nuts. One day I would ask for a piano to learn how to play piano, and the next day I would want paints or a coloring book or a sketch pad and the day after that I would want to read every Jane Austen book written (an actual completed task!). I have actually found things that I enjoy doing, writing and dancing, but I’m still pursuing hobbies like knitting, cooking, and the newest of these, learning some Italian.

I have always been the person to want to learn the most about the one thing that is closest to me. If I’m sitting in a wine class I want to learn everything there is to know about the different grapes and fermentation processes and what kind of wood they use to make barrels. I have no desire to learn about types of fish in the Caribbean while I’m learning everything there is to know about wine. I’m constantly in a new hobby, learning a new thing, reading a new story or book, trying to master a new skill. The thing that is in front of me is interesting, and beautiful, and just perfectly and exactly how I want to express myself and my inner artistic beast at that time. There’s a sense of possibility in the things that I am in pursuit of.

And it’s just wonderful, or si fantastico, as the Italians would say.

an art.

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Here’s a poem by Carl Phillips called “Civilization”. I’m pretty swamped in finals at the present moment so I thought I’d just bring in some words from other writers that I think are particularly powerful.

Civilization

There’s an art
to everything. How
the rain means
April and an ongoingness like
that of song until at last

it ends. A centuries-old
set of silver handbells that
once an altar boy swung,
processing…You’re the same
wilderness you’ve always

been, slashing through briars,
the bracken
of your invasive
self
. So he said,
in a dream. But

the rest of it—all the rest—
was waking: more often
than not, to the next
extravagance. Two blackamoor
statues, each mirroring

the other, each hoisting
forever upward his burden of
hand-painted, carved-by-hand
peacock feathers. Don’t
you know it, don’t you know

I love you, he said. He was
shaking. He said:
I love you. There’s an art
to everything. What I’ve
done with this life,

what I’d meant not to do,
or would have meant, maybe, had I
understood, though I have
no regrets. Not the broken but
still-flowering dogwood. Not

the honey locust, either. Not even
the ghost walnut with its
non-branches whose
every shadow is memory,
memory…As he said to me

once, That’s all garbage
down the river, now
. Turning,
but as the utterly lost—
because addicted—do:
resigned all over again. It

only looked, it—
It must only look
like leaving. There’s an art
to everything. Even
turning away. How

eventually even hunger
can become a space
to live in. How they made
out of shamelessness something
beautiful, for as long as they could.

dream come true.

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My Summer Study Abroad trip Dream has COME TRUE! I had been applying for scholarships and awards and grants but nothing had come through yet. Friends and family had been sending monies my way and all of it was much appreciated, but I was still only about a third of the way there.

I applied for a scholarship with the Classics Department at my college because I’m studying in Italy and I’ve taken Latin and I studied a great deal about Roman history because I think it’s fascinating. I had emailed the director of the scholarship and she seemed skeptical about me being able to receive much, but she said that I’d definitely be able to get something since I’ve taken Classics courses and I’m going to a Classics related environment.

The application said that awards could be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand, so I figured I would get a prize on the lower end of the spectrum if I got anything at all because I’m sure people go abroad and study Greek or Latin and Greek or Roman Civilization or Art or things more prevalent to the scholarship than studying Modern Dance (albeit, just kilometers from Pompeii — one of the most amazing historical sites EVER).

I went to the award ceremony yesterday and they announced some of the scholarships and there was one other Scholarship like mine and she was awarded the maximum amount of scholarship money. She explained that she’ll be going to Florence, Italy to study Art History and Latin, and I was really happy for her! If I were going abroad through a college I would definitely study Latin. When they finally called my name, I crossed my fingers as she was announcing how much my award was for, hoping for at least a few hundred dollars to put towards my tuition.

The professor announced that I too had received a scholarship in the highest denomination of the award.

I felt like Kate Winselt winning an Oscar.

I seriously wanted to cry. I was in complete shock and disbelief. I had been having some doubts about being able to go on this trip, purely for financial reasons but I’m officially going to be able to go on this trip because of this scholarship. I even feel like crying just writing about it here. I’m still going to have to do some fundraising for the difference, but the difference is small compared to what I needed.

Thank you again to everyone, everyone who has helped me. I can’t believe this is actually happening.

Love love love love love

new years.

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So New Years came and went and I decided not to force myself to make any kind of resolutions. I’m the type to make a list of things I want to accomplish and one by one either do them or get so discouraged that I don’t even bother.

So I gave up on it.

But here’s the cool thing. Once I stopped anticipating coming up with a really cool Resolution with a capital R, I figured out something I really would like to accomplish.

As you all know, Eat Pray Love is one of my favourite books out there right now so I’m taking some advice from Liz to create my resolution. In the first section of the book, based in Italy, she meets a lot of people while in Italy. She gets to talking to some of them about responsibility and obligation and realizes that in Italy there is a mindset that it’s okay to have enjoy the pleasure of doing nothing and enjoy finding pleasure in those things. As an American, I can recognize that our society is over-worked, over-fed, and generally over-indulgent. But to reign the indulgence in and find pleasure in little things, like taking a walk or window shopping, I think as an American, is a skill I’m going to have to hone in on.

So that is what I’m going to do. I’m going to take time to enjoy my life. School is important, work is important, but enjoying things is even more important. I don’t want to be the old person in the hospital saying, “I wish I’d gone to Rio.”

 

Happy New Year!

holidays.

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I’ve been home for a little over a week now and it’s been nice so far. I’ve been knitting a lot because I still haven’t finished the baby blanket I started a few months ago (keep in mind I’m knitting cotton on size 6 needles, for any knitters out there). It’s tough. Anyway, I decided to start a mini arts and crafts project while I’m working on the blanket. I’m super corny and super unoriginal but it was fun!

I bought a bunch of huge pink, plastic flowers. They’re really lovely.

Then I got my pens and floral tape out.

 

And with some taping and cutting and fun times, viola! Flower pens!

 

 

Cute right? I’m also going to teach myself some more knitting techniques today. Full-time job starts on Wednesday so I would like to take advantage of this time I have!

 

And just for kicks, because she’s a cutie…

john.

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Mayer, that is. John Mayer. Oh yes, him. So I have a sort of obsession with him. That’s not true, I think he’s kind of strange and from what I hear not really all that nice in person. Let me rephrase: I have a sort of obsession with John Mayer’s voice. If his disembodied voice could just follow me around all day I would have absolutely no issue with it.

I’ve been making dinner and listening to my “drive” playlist (whatever that means, because obviously I’m not driving at the moment) and I heard a line from one of his songs (Slow Dancing in a Burning Room) from the kitchen and just wanted to shout “YES!” He is spot on with his statements about human behavior.

I’ll make the most of all the sadness / You’ll be a bitch because you can / You try to hit me just to hurt me / So you leave me feeling dirty / Because you can’t understand.

The line “you’ll be a bitch because you can” is probably one of my favourite lines ever written in any song, poem, creative piece. I say that because every time I’ve ever been in an argument with someone I’ve thought of that line because one person (or both) will be a bitch just because they can. I do it too. I’m not pointing any fingers because I know I do it too. Whether it’s being a bitch through sarcasm or just plain meanness I know it’s happening.

I just love how those lyrics nail it on the head. Even the last part you leave me feeling dirty because you can’t understand is just perfect.

I highly recommend checking out the whole song, fact. I’ll even post it on the vod pod for you!