26.8.15

April/May/June Disposables

My Granny's favorite coffee store in London

The City, which seemed pathetic in its wealth and isolation

The final installment of Fleur in the Library

Leaving a beach party early

My last school lunch that looks just as grim as it tasted

Gwendolen

PS Sorry that it's short and sorry for my absence. However I have another set and a longer written post coming soon I promise!!

14.7.15

Hello, my old friend

Old dorm disarray.
As may be noted from the title at the top using the plural “their,” implying multiple persons, this blog was initially the joint venture of multiple individuals.

Somewhere along the way, between the awkward, enthusiastic teenage-selves who had just completed GCSEs, and our graduated, university-bound present, I drifted away from this space. I won’t make extended apologies (I still have no reason to believe otherwise than that the internet doesn’t care I exist).

I left home for a school whose nature still fails to be penned down to my satisfaction. Trying to write one sentence about it inadvertently turns into several and it is not long before I am waxing rhapsodic about the meaning of life and incidents that shape who we are, so I will spare you that for the moment. Let it suffice to say that the last two years at a UWC were and remain incredibly important to me, so my regrets about not spending more time with the 32 Different Snapchats That Get You In The Morning or watching Video Of Hilarious Animal Sneezes are few to none (on another note, please look UWC and share it with 15-17 year-olds - it might be pointless and they won’t care, but it could be just what a good few of them are looking for at that moment, as for me).

I originally decided to keep a blog on motivation from Rookie and the associated community, which I liked and could relate to far more than that which had me suffering from a serious case of suburban-teenage-wasteland-blues. Although what I needed at the time, it came to carry a lot of the angsty sentiments I poured into it. This, when revisited, just took me back to not-a-good-place which I would rather avoid and is partly explanatory for my absence.

Another sore-point was being a bit mhhh about the somewhat self-centred feeling of sharing things you write/photograph/eat/think/see/everything on the internet as it seems to suggest conviction that you have something to say that the world wants to hear. (See the ironic-not-ironic-ironic article by Hazel Cills below,
Ultimately, someone is always going to care about what you're doing — and they'll want to read about it on the internet. It might not be the 'I'll always be here for you in your darkest hour' kind of caring — maybe more the 'retweet' kind of caring. But whether you're volunteering at your neighborhood soup kitchen or shopping at Ikea for weird office furniture, someone will be following you online. Trust me, I know, because I'm pretty sure everyone really, really, really cares about me. - Hazel Cills on digital narcissism, Oyster).
And, while I am quite happy to go along with the world's indifference because it is more about the process/routine/self-articulation than ATTENTION à la digital witness, it still tends to be seen as fairly self-absorbed, which is not my intention whatsoever. I could keep this private, but the potential of real human beings seeing it is effective effectively in forcing me to minimise the bad practice of treating grammar as optional and writing in just one very long sentence.1 Plus, the community aspect or ~communication~ with cool internet people who lead cool internet lives. I have opted for the highly healthy coping mechanism of just not dwelling on this too much for now.

Now, between my towering stack of old National Geographic magazines scavenged from the closing library, current obsession with The New Yorker and determination not to while away my summer by lying in bed and lamenting the retirement of Sandy Toksvig from The News Quiz, I remain interested in writing or journalism, as well as merely sharing and chronicling experiences - feeling ~connected~ to people you may not even know and live in New Zealand or something. I would very much like to continue writing here as an all-time-consuming island of secondary school is now being replaced by the time-benevolent metropolis of university (ha, but still, they say that, comparatively, you have a lot of free time - we’ll see). The wallowing-in-angstiness disincentive to my writing here has been overcome by either deleting all of my previous posts or reverting them to draft status. As I am almost inevitably cripplingly embarrassed, in alternation, by anything I wrote more than two months ago/not for a school assignment/more than two weeks ago/anything I wrote, ever, this is not too harsh a consequence to pay for escaping my previous angsty self.

So, yeah, after two strange and intense the-opposite-of-loneliness years, I have completed the International Baccalaureate and am on track to study International Relations and History at the LSE this September, whilst still harbouring mild resentment that I can’t also be studying Literature. I intend to be here more, as well as reading about all of your wonderful antics and working out why exactly I get such joy every time I see that picture of Mao we decided to use as our background.2

‘Till soon.

1My sentences are still way too long and, unfortunately, I am no Dickens. It is a work in progress.

2Indulge a history student with a particular penchant for those weird incidents which seem both like something that must be made up and simply can’t be made up: 1958, Mao launches the Great Leap Forward, a plan to develop China based on very questionable science (“the corn will grow higher the more you desire”) which results in tens of thousands of deaths and his stepping back in the communist party to let others lead more. 1966, Mao decides he wants his power back so launches a carefully orchestrated propaganda event where his 72 year-old self is seen swimming in the Yangtze river for a couple of hours to demonstrate his Youth and Vitality. This event heralds in the Cultural Revolution, “by all accounts one of the most bizarre events in history” according to some historian I cannot remember, as thousands of youths follow Mao’s proclamations that “to rebel is justified,” smash up centuries-old Chinese antiquities and are sent to the countryside to learn revolution from the peasants. (Obviously this is a somewhat humorous simplification - my coping mechanism for most things that make me want to bash my head into my desk - as vast numbers of people suffered horribly).

10.7.15

Let's go down to the tennis courts

"Beautiful girls at high school wouldn't even look at you if you didn't have a car and an allowance of twenty bucks to spend on 'em" - From 'Miss Temptation' by Kurt Vonnegut











"All through high school, people like you would look at me as if they wished I'd drop dead. They'd never dance with me, they'd never talk to me, they'd never even smile back. They'd just go slinking around like small-town cops. They'd look at me the way you did - like I'd just done something terrible" - From 'Miss Temptation' by Kurt Vonnegut

All photos of Fleur taken by me

6.7.15

Queen of Peace

I have written here in over month and for that I sincerely apologise. Obviously during exams I had a legitimate excuse, but they finished on the 18th of June and I don't really have a reason to explain by absence other than apathy.



Leaving school and exams ending have left in a weird place. Although year 13 itself was 12 months of weird. Everything became very real, very quickly, but by the time I felt I was beginning to get the hang of things it all ended.



So much of my identity has been built around school, which is why I guess I feel like I'm drifting in some vacuum and a bit out of touch with who I thought I was. School has just always been something I could do. Not just lessons, but the other stuff. I was always that girl on the student council, or in house drama, or being picked for this or that. Actual life, on the other hand, is a system that's not so easy to play. Who am I kidding? I've only been out of school two weeks. This hardly counts as real life. But when your oldest friend is getting engaged and being offered jobs based in Swindon, it can be hard to remember.


I'm not really sure what it is that I'm feeling. Cha, adolescence summed up in ten words. It doesn't help that any emotional responses feel rather delayed. It takes a good few days before I will feel pissed off at whoever for doing what they did, or happy for someone's achievement, or to enjoy whatever book I've been reading. I could just be tired. I turns out doing nothing is very tiring.


Gwendolen

 Photos taking by me during a walk at the Epsom Racecourse 



25.5.15

Words that have been out and about, on people's lips


From Tumblr

So I left school two weeks ago. I keep on expecting some big emotional reaction but it never comes. Probably because I haven't really left school yet, but am in the weird limbo that is study leave. I'm still going in for exams and the odd revision session but I'm not really a student anymore and I have done all the tradition last day stuff. However at about 3:34pm on Thursday 18th July 2015 once I leave the sports hall following the grimest day of German and Physics that really will officially be it. Then I'm sure my body will crumble and I'll start the long process of rebuilding myself into something that resembles an adult.

I plan to start my gap year by not getting out of bed until comfortably after midday. Then I will do myself a cooked breakfast before taking a shower to wash the remaining evidence of sixth form off me, before walking down to a field near my house, where I shall spend as much time as it pleases me lying under a tree looking up at the branches to sky beyond.

I have done a lot of walking lately. Even the odd bit of running, which is pretty horrible but does allow me to work off some pent up aggression that has built up towards Billy Collins for being such a boring and uninteresting poet, and towards Edexcel for making me study him. I've walked roughly the same route most Sundays for the last three years but over the last few days I have been less formulaic, allowing myself to explore the little paths made by teenagers on Friday evenings that take me to clearings that I am not quite brave enough to sit and read for hours in.

My gap year is not there for me to find myself. If I have learnt anything from physics over the last two years it is that I am a but a wavelength smeared across the universe, made of matter that will happily turn into nothing but energy in the blink of eye. But when that makes me feel too insignificant I remember that most of the particles that are in me are interacting with every single charged particle in the universe, and that those particles are in turn interacting with me.

That, and to always put units and to watch your significant figures.

But before I can start all that I need to I get revision and exams out of the way. I'm not dwelling too much on quite how much I have to do and how little time I have to do it because it will only stress me. Thinking about the probabilities of what I need and want to get this year will only make me feel inadequate and insecure so I'm just going to pretend I am what everyone thinks I am. But maybe I should think about all that stuff more if it means I will actually spend as much time as I need on integration by parts and vectors, rather than just drinking copious amounts of coffee, reading translations of Rimaud's Illuminations and watching Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. 

Mother and I went to the Royal Opera House to watch the Royal Ballet's production of Woolf Works, a new ballet inspired by the writings and suicide of Virginia Woolf. It was the most intense and moving piece of art I have seen in a long time. Attempting to describe it makes it sound a little crap as it involved a surprising amount of lasers and synths. But watching it was like reading her works, with their overwhelming intensity and the beautiful way in which her language moves and forces the plot to become secondary. The moment it finished and Alessandra Ferri was left to dissolve on stage I was hit with a sadness so overwhelming I headed straight to loos to cry.

Sorry it was so wordy and sounds a little forced but I writing this was way more therapeutic that I expected. Also Cecily's doing good. Not that I know that for sure because she hasn't been on the internet for the last two weeks and I'm seriously suffering from lack of contact with her (I hope that when she reads that she feels suitably guilty). However I believe her exams have finished.

Gwendolen

26.4.15

January/February/March/April Disposables

This camera took forever to fill up.

The Alan Turing memorial looking creepy

I needed to fill it up

There's a crab there somewhere

This one looks like some distant planet

Manchester doesn't photograph so well



I had nothing to worry about but grass stains on my dress


PS Cecily is still alive I promise