as an englishist i am often overwhelmed. it is difficult subject for choosing where to begin. or end. even reading one author’s complete works is not conclusive – it is not only about the plays or novels or poetry, but also their context. therefore, i have developed a penchant for handbooks. so far i have two. the essential shakespeare handbook goes play-by-play (the only circumstance in which i will ever use the term “play-by-play”), providing summary, background, line statistics, and theatrical history, and the jane austen pocket bible (a present from my close friend and mentor) includes information on the events and characters of austen’s six novels as well as her life. i use them for reference and background and the occasional (one-sided, unfortunately) hug. ★
^ my new betsey johnson watch, a gift from my mom
i have not owned a watch for years. i usually have my phone on me, so why carry around an extra object? a combination of a discount price, hot pink, and a fluffy-plus-edgy glitter skull and hair-bow combo led to this watch ending up in my possession. i wore it to the airport yesterday and must admit, it made my journey a bit less stressful. my hands were full of bags and my pockets contained valuables, so i didn’t want to fiddle with them anyway. so much easier to glance at a wrist than fish out a phone. i still don’t consider my watch to be an essential (when i’m doing work the ticking is distracting), but in certain cases it is rather useful, and doesn’t really contribute to travel weight ~ if anything it lightens the mental load. ★
not feeling very minimalist at the moment, having just packed away oodles of items for just three months abroad. especially considering the four storage boxes already waiting in college. it is amazing how much the little things add up. the rei backpack is nearly all clothes and a blanket, and the north face has my sleeping bag, shoes (running, climbing, approach for mountaineering, and a pair of oxfords), and books (hooray english degree!). i could easily fit everything into the red bag if i didn’t have climbing gear (harness, shoes, clothes, sleeping bag), but gear is necessary for climbing and layers are necessary for england (hence the outer pocket of my rei bag storing solely my scottish lambswool blanket). i bring less every time (only two pairs of non-practical shoes!), but it still feels like a lot (30 kilos!). well, minimalism is a process. ★
goodbye boston. goodbye luscious public parks. goodbye photogenic squirrels and swan boats and duck tours. goodbye america, with satisfying burrito joints and cheesecake factories and dollar bills and green street signs and yellow school buses. and liberty, justice, etcetera. the most unexpected details about this country are what stand out when i am away. and off i go again, onto the next adventure of the summer. ★
most rooms in art galleries these days seem spacious and sparse, giving each painting its own space. stepping into the mfa’s salon room, therefore, was a significantly – refreshingly – different experience to what i have grown used to. more interesting still is the fact that in the 1890s, all of the mfa galleries exhibited art floor-to-ceiling, styled after the famous parisian salon. the aesthetic and the idea behind the salon entice me. the mfa’s explanation describes the salon as
the epitome of worldliness and sophistication. a typical salon exhibition, which might include thousands of paintings, placed the largest and most prestigious works “on the line”, at eye-level. paintings by lesser-known artists were often “skyed” towards the ceiling – though part of the game at the salon was deciding whether your judgment was better than the judges’.
i want my mind to be shaped like a salon, containing art of all kinds: paintings, but also books, plays, cupcakes…some on the line and others skyed, awaiting further inspection. ★