In a song…

I’ve been listening to Kate Miller Heidke on repeat and it reminds me of September.

I listened to her music endlessly from about September until December, and it brings me right back to where I was then. Jury’s out on whether that is a good thing or not.

The songs I have loved all remind me of times in my life. Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans reminds me of first year. Something Corporate always brings back high school memories. Vienna Teng, Jason Webley and Damien Rice remind me of Ireland. Ingrid Michaelson reminds me of my last year of my undergrad.

Besides smell, music is the thing that most triggers my memory. It’s strange how songs can be shaped and changed by our experiences and the things we associate them with. I can’t listen to one of my former favourite songs at all anymore, because it reminds me of an ex boyfriend I would rather forget.

So I’m listening to Kate on repeat and I think I’m a little stuck in the past.

When I see I’ve had enough
And the seas are getting rough
I just need time
Til everything is back to normal
And everything is as it should be
If everything is less than you hoped for
Everything’s okay by me

-Shoebox by Kate Miller Heidke

Theseus: completed

Last Friday, after many glitches and a great deal of emotional stress, I printed out my dissertation and handed it in.

I am happy with it. I am confident that I did everything I could to make it perfect, and there is nothing I would change. That’s all one can ask for, right?

Now it only remains to be seen what other people (namely my supervisor and two other markers) think about it and if I get a decent grade.

It was my life for an entire month. When it was done I was both immensely relieved and strangely empty. I had no idea what to do with my time anymore.

Luckily, packing came along to keep me busy. That and Firefly.

I’m proud of myself. For finishing this and for getting this far. This is the physical manifestation of all of the work I have done in the last 5 years, and everything I have learned.

And, believe it or not, I think I finally found my niche. Yes, I could talk about pots, myths and political myth making forever.

Theseus: a democratic hero

Title page

It's so beautiful!

180 pages

Goodbyes

When it comes to goodbye, I think I like the French “au revoir” better. In direct translation, it means “until I see you again.” I love the idea that the French have a word for seeing someone again. Reseeing. I wish we had it in English. Reunion doesn’t quite cut it.

I get tired of saying goodbyes. Why is that you have to say goodbye to one set of people in order to be back with another? Why is it that you have to leave one home to return to another? Why must there always be that trade off - losing something to gain something else?

I think it’s not about the places you go, but the people you meet.

This year has undeniably changed me for the better. But it wasn’t the place so much as the people. Places are only the backdrop for experiences, and experiences are largely dependent on the characters.

I know that distance is a relative thing, and I know that friendship can survive distance. But it’s hard when things change. When you go from seeing someone nearly everyday to maybe once a year. It was hard when I came here, and now it will be hard when I return to Canada. The more places I go, the more homes I have… the more people I have to leave behind.

So I’ll settle with an au revoir to Newcastle and my Newcastle cast of characters, because goodbye is too final and too sad.

Suitcases

My room is full of postcards, ticket stubs and brochures. A suitcase stuffed with travelling shoes and souvenirs.

I’m not really sure where I’m going from here.

And I feel like in just a few weeks I’ll be looking at these fragments of one of the best years of my life and trying to piece together a time when I was free.

When I saw my life packed into a suitcase again, I sat down and cried.

I don’t think it’s because I’m sad to leave. It’s because I’m sad that it’s over. I need to leave because by the end of the week there will be nothing here for me anymore. But I wish it were January again and all of that possibility and adventure still lay ahead.

Because that was good possibility.

The possibility I have now is also called uncertainty and I am not good at uncertainty.

A matter of time

On Monday I heard Jeanette Winterson speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She talked about how we all exist in three different times at once, that we are used to walking around made up of the past, the present and the future. And that this is what art does, it allows us to touch our inner selves, the ones that live in all of these times at once. The ones beyond the calendars and clocks. Clocks and calendars are human constructs with which to regulate the world, when really our lives are not linear. We can relive the past and change it, in our minds. We can affect the present while we think about the future and, essentially, affect that as well.

And it’s interesting, to think of one’s self as non-linear. There’s something comforting in knowing that one hour leads to a next, that Wednesday follows Tuesday and March follows February.

But there’s a reason why Jeanette Winterson’s books speak to me, and I think she touched on it with this. While consciously I have trouble being non-linear, my inner self recognizes something about how the past, present and future are not fixed but simultaneous, are non-linear. Because, when it comes down to it, each moment we live is affected by our past experiences and our hopes or worries of the future just as much as it is affected by our present situation.

It gave me a lot to think about. And a lot of insight into Jeanette Winterson’s unique writing style.