When I was a child, I told myself I would read every book ever written. In the two-floored, two-roomed library of my small New Hampshire town, I thought nothing could stop me from reading the world. Innocent naivety yes, but so much the foundation of who I am and why I find myself writing this open letter.
If I could only leave Emerson College with one lesson learned, it would be the utter importance of personal experience. There are too many movies about filmmakers, books about authors, and plays about producers. I have spent four years watching fellow students slave over their art, only to realize in the end they forgot to live the inspiration. The literature majors who believe too blindly in the imagination, imagining the fulfillment of their goals and nothing else. They are learning to be better teachers, they believe, but literature is only Frankenstein's monster, built piecemeal from experiences understood only when the books placed back on the shelves. Live, I tell them. Live and then teach the world to the world, not its imitation. Live and then speak of literature, not as the imitation, but the thing to imitate.
[...] I see the original, and I see myself, a watered-down copy of a copy of a copy. In these moments, I gamble with my art, because in these moments, art and history are one and the same. I have a list of goals, things I wish to accomplish before I die. One is to do something, anything, so frightening and unthinkable it leaves me shattered. Destroy the self to improve the self. Do not get too comfortable, too lazy and satisfied, for when the desire to improve fades, then the self fails. [...]
[...] Still, I am a reader at heart. My life has been a love affair with words, my soul mate, my self-expression. I collect experiences like bottle caps, some new, some bent, thrown in the dusty drawers of my mind, waiting to become stories or poems or the reasons for the next book I choose, the next intertextual connection I make. In my mind, Oxford is infinite, passionate, vine-covered; I have always lusted for a moment spent behind vine-covered walls. The aesthetic is not lost on me. [...]
using our reader.