My first week in Europe (yes, I'm posting late again) was spent in Edinburgh, Scotland -- the most fairytale-like city I've ever encountered. One end of the city actually rests in the shadow of a castle. And the other end? Oh, it borders the sea.. no big deal or anything. Named ever-so-suitably for King Arthur, "Arthur's Seat" lies somewhere in the middle of magical Edinburgh. A wild highland area, the seat rises 823.5 feet and has gorgeous views of both the city and the sea.
The pictures below are from my adventure to the seat with my friend Annette.
Oh yeah, she and I also CLIMBED to the VERY TOP of the seat (that's right.. all 823.5 feet of it). Not bad for a couple of sorority girls, huh?
P.S. I was wearing a skirt and flats. Ridiculous, but true. (We didn't wake up that morning with the urge to conquer the seat.. it just happened!) Chapter 856 of the bizarre existence I live and love.
Baby's first hike View of the seat View of Edinburgh from half-way up We ran across a lake of swans while we were climbing... what??
Another view from half-way The remains of a 12th century monastery in the highlands Resting.. (oh, give us a break) We conquered the seat!!! (photo courtesy of a really chic Scottish teen) View from the top The long return (we still felt invincible)
My feet were sore for days, but the view - and the adventure - were so worth it.
Written in my Shakespeare notebook the morning after the Thames Festival in London:
And outside, the streets of London have grown dark and cold. But not unfriendly or terrifying - just lightless. And silent.
It must be that way, though, after a city has thrown itself into carnival, into music and dancing, into drinking and eating, into laughing, feeling the warmth of celebration, feeling eternally young, riding on the immediacy of the present moment, which will soon lead into tomorrow, a day that sees an empty path along the river, formerly lined with vendors who have since packed up their carts and garments and trinkets (where do they keep them now?), and the sky above the river will have cleared from the rainbow-coloured smoke of glittering fireworks and fire gardens and cigarettes, and the lights in the trees will have been put out, and the masks and floats and costumes will have found themselves back amongst the hustle and drone of a city always progressing. Could I find traces of them now if I looked?
I have yet to know. So while it was still there, I looked hard, desperately even, at everything. I consumed the energy of that night, let it wrap itself around my skin and bury itself in my hair and squish itself beneath my feet. I let it change me, mesmerize me, dictate how I felt and what thoughts could form inside my skull. I let myself fall in love with everyone and everything around me, and I loved myself without any reason other than I was present. I was there.
What is this life I'm living?
How did I come to watching thousands of tiny fires burn in flowerpots and in lanterns and in fountains - the brainchildren of an artist whom I've never met or even heard of, whose name I couldn't recall if I tried (did I ever know it?). How did I encounter years of his (her?) life spent tinkering and building and dreaming and burning, and how did I love it so wildly when, before that night, I didn't even know it existed?
... Later on, he and I separated ourselves from the group because they were too single-minded. They wanted a great seat for fireworks. And why wouldn't they? But he and I, we wanted to be in the fire - not just among the fire gardens, but among the people: the Londoners, the foreigners, the tired, the fashionable, the youthful, the soulful.
Someone else said it best: "The only ones for me are the mad ones."
And London? This city is mad. And about it I have fallen mad as well.
"Let's road trip to the country," I said. It was a perfect August day, and I was itching to take some photos. My roommate Ashley was sewing, but she agreed to be my model. And to drive us (score two for me!). So we got in her not-so-little white Buick and headed out of Minneapolis and into the unknown... of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. ha. Just call us adventurous! Ashley and I both have a little country in us -- she from small town Minnesota and I from Texas via Montana -- so an afternoon of boots, country radio, and wide open spaces was refreshing and inspiring. And Ashley was so fun to photograph! Not only was she gorgeous against the wheat fields, but she has such a quiet presence on camera -- totally unexpected from my partner in crime, but absolutely beautiful.
We ended the day helping (ok, making fun of) a few local boys whose 4-wheeler had died in the middle of the fields.
They thought we were weird for traveling all the way to the 'burbs for a photo shoot, but we were just relieved they weren't some farmer coming to yell at us for trampling his crops. I guess Ashley and I weren't the only ones in need of an adventure.. (everyone say "awwwww!").
I'll be posting lots of stuff from the summer over the next few weeks.. and some travel stuff, too. It's amazing how much free time I have without access to surfthechannel. Cheers!
It’s Monday. Weeds night at Chris and Kaylee’s. A cat sits on the pretty girl’s lap. She crochets with yellow yarn. I cannot tell what she is making, but in her saddle bag sits a clutch of salmon and crimson weave. She tells me she wants to put in lining and a tiny rhinestone button for the clasp. She also pulls out the pieces of another handbag – two sides and a strap. They are black and another color. Maybe turquoise. She says she wants to sell the bags on Craigslist. The cat has jumped to the floor. He begins to shudder and his eyes grow bulgy. Paul N pulls a long string of black yarn from the cat’s throat, thus saving it from choking.
Weeds has been over for awhile now. Grotesque cartoons occupy the screen. A policeman with a fro just got his face melted off. I think it was the methane. Paul F is horrified. I feel slightly dizzy. We get up to leave, careful not to step on the yarn. The pretty girl will cut it later, she says, after the saliva has dried. Paul N makes me put my sandals on. There is a meth lab in the house on the left, he says, and prostitutes live in the house on the right and in the one three doors down. You have to wear shoes in South Minneapolis, he says. I do not buckle my sandals because I am tired.
Anthony and Chris follow us outside. We leave them on the front porch steps smoking what could be Sweet Dreams. Or maybe just Parliaments. The rainbow flag that hangs on the front door is illuminated by the light in the entryway. Anthony had come late to Weeds night, two pizzas in tow. One meat, one cheese. He figured that hippies like us would appreciate a vegetarian pie. The stoned kid inside ate most of the cheese one. As well as half of the pineapple upside-down cake. He didn’t even use a fork.
In the car we don’t say much. Not like we did on the way to Weeds night. Paul N had a pretty fucked up dream when he was napping earlier. There was a gathering under a pavilion somewhere in Minneapolis. Everyone he knows was there waiting for something. Something amazing. Something they were so excited about. Paul N new what it was. He couldn’t get away. Every time he tried, the pavilion and the people were just around the next corner. His best friend Jenny was there. She taunted him. “Don’t you want to hear her scream,” she said. “Why do you want to run away Paul?” she sneered. Paul N ran because what was going to happen would make him sick. A woman was bragging; she was proud. The helicopter in the sky was going to chop off her head. Everyone was so excited to see. The chopper hung lower in the sky. It tilted downwards towards the woman, who had lay down in the middle of the pavilion. The people counted down from 10. At 4 Paul N woke up.
Jenny goes to bed when we get back to their place. She doesn’t feel well. She thinks it’s the mold in the apartment – the same mold that made the bathroom ceiling fall through a few weeks ago. Mushrooms have started growing where the ceiling used to be. Paul N calls them magical. We watch a movie about drag queens starring John Leguizamo, Patrick Swayze, and Wesley Snipes, who slays vampires in his other movies. Paul N knows so many lines. The movie is heartwarming, one of his favorites. I do not fall asleep. The movie makes me feel something I can not put my finger on. Jenny’s cat crawls under my dress. I lift her up and she protests. She won’t sit still. I want her to sit with me. She chews my hair instead. Paul N and Paul F smoke cigarettes and laugh at all the right places. The movie ends at 1:08 a.m. Paul N makes me put on my shoes again before he takes me home.
In the car Paul N says he will make me a mix. He can’t make a bad mix, he says. His best friend Suzie from high school still has one he made her in eighth grade. We listen to OK Computer. Paul sings along and I am mesmerized. Paul N smokes and drives and sings and I watch him. I listen and feel okay. He says he wants to wrap himself in OK Computer. Every song is his favorite. He makes me promise him something: that I will listen to OK Computer in London when it’s raining. Don’t let it depress you though, he says. We pull in front of my house and finish the song. Track number 5 or 6, I think. Paul N tells me of the time he and Suzie lay upon the floor of their Fargo apartment, a plate of lighted tea candles between them. They listened to OK Computer and were emotionally drained. He tells me to call him the next afternoon. We are shopping for yarn on West Bank so he can make me a scarf for London. I am not allowed to be terrified. I am going to have the trip of a lifetime, he says. My mind is eating itself, just like Paul N said once. But everyone I love will be here when I get back – at least that’s what he tells me. I still have two weeks. We say goodbye and I slam the car door tightly. I climb the stairs to my attic apartment and Twitter his words, probably so I won’t forget. I don’t watch as he drives away.
Back in July (procrastinate much, Tara?) I attended Public Eye Action's opening night on the University of Minnesota's Northrop Mall. What is PEA, you ask? It's an art activist movement that basically sets up surveillance cameras and then stages actions to occur in front of them, with the aim of drawing our attention to the surveillance and web cameras that are always watching us (If you're singing Hall and Oates' "Private Eye," raise your hand). The event I attended was a mock art gallery opening, and participants were asked to behave as though Northrop Mall was the gallery, and everything in it (trees, buildings, random passersby), the art. Needless to say, we got a lot of strange looks... So entertaining.
My favorite part? The after party, which consisted of myself and the clowns drinking champagne straight out of the bottle on the steps of Andersen Library (For self-preservation purposes, I left those photos out). For more info on PEA, see their website.