Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The past, sound advice

If you've been reading this blog for a bit, you most likely know I am obsessed with the past. I'm fascinated by the way people once lived, loved, and died, and learning about what once was, and how it either continued or ceased to be allows me to take a gentler, more understanding stance on people and events I encounter. Over the past week, I came across some elements that piqued my curiosity and helped me refine once more my perspective on, well, life.

1. Miranda July's aptly named project We Think Alone
Once a week for 20 weeks, July sends emails collected from the personal email archives of public figures and artists. This week's was 'An email that gives advice' (and if you missed out on it, just email me and I will forward it to you), and while the exchanges it presents are occasionally about vague situations while taking place between people I will most likely never know personally, I find those glimpses into others' lives both reassuring and useful. I don't want to become a pro basketball player, but I will take Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's advice of diversifying my fields of interest and knowledge without dispersing myself too much.
In her message, Sheila Heti writes:
"I met an amazing choreographer at Yaddo -- an 80 year old woman; Sally Gross. From NY. She told me that I was young. That there was enough time in my life for everything; being alone, being with women, with difficult men, with not-difficult men.

This was soothing. There's enough time in my life for everything."
The idea of having enough time in my life for everything is something I should make more place in my mind for. It also ties in with the notion of diversifying without dispersing. For the past year or so, I've been finding it increasingly difficult to know where I'm heading. Out of high school, out of Cegep (a pre-university college students aged 17+ attend as a pre-requisite for university), the number of models one is supposed to follow or rebel against decreases, and while I've never really meant to abide to the rules of what makes a stereotypical high-schooler or college student, I find myself at loss when it comes to considering what a 'typical' 23 year-old is supposed to do. The idea of having enough time for everything is relieving.

2. Scouting New York
I came across this blog yesterday, and spent most of the afternoon obsessively going through the archives. The blog's author photographs and researches New York's architectural oddities, often capturing the odd superposition and continuity present in the most inconspicuous establishments. Please do have a look, it's fascinating.

3. House on Loon Lake
This is one of my favourite stories ever broadcasted by This American Life, and I must have listened to it at least three times. It recounts the time a group of boys stumbled upon an abandoned house so full of stuff it looked like its occupants had simply fled the premises. This discovery brings one of them to unveil a strange family story, through which the strangeness of family relationships and attachment transpires. I think I'm so fascinated by the House on Loon Lake because I can oddly related to it - I too had a farmhouse in my family that was once full of objects having belonged to each member over 4 generations. Unlike the Nasons, the family portrayed in the story, most of us had sentimental attachment to just about everything in the premises, and the 150 year old house is now inhabited by my cousin, his wife, and their three children. The House on Loon Lake just makes me happy we're all so obsessed with the past, none of us has yet to leave such a monumental mystery behind.


  1. oh! these are interesting finds! (i receive miranda july's emails...;))


Dear reader, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do my best to respond to all comments in a timely manner, and although I sometimes may be slow, you can be sure they will all be answered by the time a new post has been published.