Posts Tagged 'Charlottesville'

Ode to My Major

We are beings-in-process. At every stage of self-discovery, we look back reinterpret the past, gleaning for clues that we would eventually come to here.

Back in Charlottesville, Virginia, I lean against the columns of the historic lawn at UVa to smoke a cigarette and shelter myself from the rain. I’m the only one standing still in the current of umbrella’d students scurrying to classes, restaurants, coffee shops.

Funny how a place is more emotion than geography.

I heard the other day that a close friend from high school is a creative writing major. Good, I thought, that he should end up where he should be. I wonder if he couldn’t shake the same impulse that I am always fighting—the sneaking knowledge that writing is the best way to sort through things internal and external. Things past and present. And did he sort through me the way I sorted through him?

I have a memory of pestering him to include me in an essay. I think I wanted confirmation that I wasn’t the only one encountering real life through writing. He said he did, but never showed me the result.

In Alderman library, I wonder how I would’ve been at a school of 30,000 students instead of 1600. I count down the days till I return to school, and from then until graduation. These sorts of anxieties are best calmed by a pen—this break has already produced ten poems.

I will write my way from Charlottesville back to Gambier, and from the past back into the present (and onward)


A Roll of Film Developed

These were taken a couple weeks ago at the farm. The large contraption that appears in several of the images is an industrial water pump (or, at least, the hose)– a project that took up several days for me and my farming partner.

I made those!

Jamie. That's actually a river, twenty feet below.



In conclusion,

I love Virginia, especially Virginia farmland.

Rural culture is undervalued, and under attack.

Nonetheless, heirloom tomatoes are still shockingly delicious.

When growing food, one often also grows healthy in the heart.

More Reasons Why the U.S. is Like a Sci-Fi Movie

Ah, the 4th of July.

The one day a year that you can use that random “fireworks” scene setting on your digital camera.


I was struck by how many tiny screens seemed to be glowing on the field in front of me: people’s iphones, cameras, etc. I kept mine in my lap, occasionally pressing the shutter button but refusing to look at the lcd screen or the viewfinder. Instead, I snuggled up to my date for the evening and enjoyed what may be the last ever McIntire Park fireworks.

Looking over those pictures now, it’s fascinating to see what a different image the camera was able to capture. It seems I took pictures of some strange sculptures of light; sci-fi landscapes, or neon light figurines.

Fireworks 8Frireworks 7Fireworks 2Fireworks 4Fireworks 5Fireworks 3Fireworks 11Fireworks 10Fireworks 6Fireworks 9fireworks1

On another note, the aforementioned date told me that the 4th of July is one of the two busiest nights for the ER because of injuries and deaths from fireworks. Apparently, several people die every year from fireworks, and a lot more people blow off a limb or something.

My [somewhat morbid] first response was, “hm, death by fireworks would make a great ending for a short story.” My second response was, “why the fuck is this the way that we celebrate the United States?” When a bunch of teenagers get drunk and blow off an arm, are they casualties of our patriotic celebration? Should they get some kind of award?

I found this somewhat less-than-professional website that nonetheless brought up a good point:

“Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms kill around 450,000 people each year and fireworks kill around 10 people each year. Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms are legal in every state. Fireworks are not.”


Happy birthday, young country. I hope these growing pains are worth it.

To Know, To Utter, To Argue


“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

– John Milton, 1644


School has been keeping me busy, but I promise I have updates planned for the weekend!

Art for Music (Violin Fundraiser)

So, I painted a violin over Winter Break for the CHS Orchestra fundraiser. It’s been on display for the past few weeks in the window of the Ash Lawn Opera ticket office, right across the street from my Dad’s office. Apparently he can see it from his window while he works, and sent some photos of the view to me.

I spent several days sanding, priming, and taking apart the violin. I remembered how good it is to keep art tactile– to really handle your work. I think I spend so much time with paper that I often forget the touch, the grasp, the feel of running my fingers down a curve of wood. Or the contrast of materials: like the hammered metal pieces on Jennifer Mildonian’s violin.

Here’s the link to all the violins. To see the back side, just roll your mouse over the image. 


My violin on display

My violin on display



Closer View

Closer View


And here are some of my own photographs:





Detail 2

Detail 2

Art adventures, literary hangovers, rural politics and other songs worth sharing.

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