Time-travel Tuesday #Two:
12 October, 1982
Woke up this morning disoriented, having dreamed of a wheatfield world. It took a moment--what camp am I at this time with all these bunks and all these girls I don't know talking on top of each other too early for my brain?-and then the dawn broke. London. A youth hostel in the heart of Kensington. Today the world awaits us. We shall see Piccadilly, the Thames. Then north to the British Museum to pour over books, walk through the past, wonder how it touches our future.
Today. Hmm. I'm rather 'seen' out. Victoria and Albert's' the National Portrait Gallery, not to mention the Thames, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey. And innumerous people flocking everywhere. Bought a loaf of bread at Harrod', Saw Covent Garden--
and finally the play, "Children of a Lesser God."
The issue of deafness. Sound within silence. "How can I tell you what it is to be me?" It was a beautiful play. I do not want to speak of it because it was far too moving and I'd only make shambles of any attempt. We walked out of it in our own kind of silence, though our ears work perfectly fine, stumbled back to the tube, came back to this hostel where I try to make my way through the experience. How do we let others see us? Are we a noisy people? I know I am...too often to feel comfortable in my comfortable clothes.
I'm so aware of being an American. My pants aren't tight enough, my shoes are the wrong kind, my hair too long and simply cut. I'm overly friendly and just plain open. Innocent of how to live in a city such as this. Londoners hurry about in their own lives. Perhaps I do when I live in mine. But here I watch and wonder.
I love literature. I know nothing of the evolution of the monarchy in England, have no concept of the wars and struggles unrelated to our country's--though I saw plenty of portraits depicting them today--but through the great writers, whom I already love, as far back as Chaucer, as near as CS Lewis and Tolkein, perhaps I can know this country. I saw portraits of Milton, Shakespeare, Dryden, Dunne, Lord Byron, Dickens, the Brontes, Carlyle, George Eliott, Fielding, Dante Rossetti, the Brownings, et. al. The list boggles.
But so far, I find myself keeping a diary. Soon perhaps I'll have a chance to write. Maybe to digest some of this. I feel like squealing every time I see a new sight. It's 'bloody' awful to be a tourist. Perhaps once we get through this we'll get to know the country; at the moment I have no idea what England even looks like. For now, I just have a sense that I'm shirking the responsibility of turning what I see into actual writing. Creativity stares out of frames, off a stage, behind glass cabinets, and I can only record what I see. I don't know what any of it means yet. And if I don't know what it means, how will this trip become anything more than any other sight-seeing trip for any other person who has gone before me? Living without meaning. without comprehending a deeper sense indefinitely scares me. I'm not sure I can manage. Well manage, yes, but not without missing home and my own space and well-ordered breathing rhythm. SK and I will need space to be quiet, too, so we don't simply mirror each other. Or speak each other's thoughts.