Flashback: April Trip to Deddington, England.

In April, I visited my mother and my step-father John in England. This was the rainy weather view from the Oxford Bus that took me from London to Oxford where I met the parental units. From Oxford, we drove to Deddington, which is thirty or so minutes outside of Oxford.

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The adorable cottage they rented was the upstairs section of a converted barn. Below us, the owners still had farming equipment for the beautiful pastures that were part of the property. Below: view of cottage and master bedroom from guest bedroom; second and third photograph is the view from my guest bedroom.

Deddington Cottage April 19

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I would like to return to Oxford and spend some time exploring the beautiful city. This was a view of a passing building on my way back to London and then Paris.

Oxford April 23

“Let the line of thought dip deep into the stream…”

A re-printing of “Let the line of thought dip deep into the stream…”(MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2007)

“All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be recorded, I said… and went on in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life, whether from the women at the street corners with their arms akimbo… or from the violet-sellers and the match-sellers and the old crones stationed under doorways… Above all, you must illumine your own soul with its profundities and its shallows, and its vanities and its generosities, and say what your beauty means to you or your plainness, and what is your relation to the ever-changing and turning world.”(Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own.”)

I wonder what Virginia Woolf – who is one of my favorite writers – would think of blogs today. I believe that she would be very excited about the availability of this form of expression for women writers everywhere. She had the belief that women needed five hundred pounds a year (in 1929) and a room of one’s own in order to have the freedom to pick up our pens and write.

I am lucky, finally, to have the ability to write full-time. I realize that I am in a wonderful position and am thankful, although it did not come easily. I feel, also, that having two blogs have given me a platform on which I can express myself. Blogs create a constant exercise in writing and thinking and putting your thoughts together. It is so important to write (if you are a writer) or to take photographs (if you are a photographer.) Whatever your dream, your focus, your end all be all, it is important to have the time to devote to it. Too many people do not have the time or money to concentrate on their dream.

Last month I wrote about my love of writing on the silky pages of a good journal. I even took a photograph of some of my lovely bound books. My two blogs – “A Bohemian Girl” and “The Weight of It” – both serve a purpose. One is a scattering of thoughts (which I hope are not ignorant ramblings) and the other one is a chronicle of something that is very important to me.

To Woolf, it didn’t matter if we were poets, fiction writers, or travel writers. She supported the woman’s desire to be a writer. It didn’t matter to her what sort of book you wrote. She even wrote, “Therefore I would ask you to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast. By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”(Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”.)

“Let the line of thought dip deep into the stream…” What a fantastic line. What an inspiring thought. I want to inspire, because I want to be inspired in return. I want to be inspired by what happens in another person’s presence. By the simplicity of a situation. By a perfect moment. Moments that could have happened yesterday or twenty years ago, but will remain forever fresh in your mind.

I want to record these moments. Things like a conversation between strangers. The colors of Malaysia when it rains. A bird flying through an old barn’s rafters that has rays of light slicing through the air that are filled with dust. Sleeping on the top bunk as you take the night train to Saint Petersburg. Sitting on a Vermont mountain side amongst scultpures and tall grass as you take in all the nature around you. The Charles Bridge in Prague at midnight as the rain comes down softly while you walk past police officers and a couple in love with the castle on your right in the distance. Or an attractive man getting up to give you his seat. I could go on forever….

But inspiration should come naturally. There should be no pressure or design. It’s in the person’s make-up. In their own personal design. In their interest in the World around them. And because of this, they make you want to be the best person you can possibly be. Isnt it wonderful when you turn around and are surprised by inspiration? By a spark? By life? By something you have done! Or seen. Been lucky to have witnessed. Isn’t it lovely when you don’t have to say a word and the energy flows through you simply because you are sitting beside this person? And they can be a friend, a relative, a lover… Ah, inspiration is addictive… I love to be fueled, inspired, supported by my friends. By my loved ones. By my family. We should charge those around us. Inspire each other to do our best work and be the best people we can be.

Blogs are a form of expression. We are given anonymous free range to express to others who we are, what our thoughts on matters are, what our experiences have been like, what our memories are filled with. It’s a way of connecting to readers, friends, loved ones, strangers… I write in order to inspire. I write in order to keep my mind working. To keep it oiled, if you will. I write, because I have to and there is nothing else I could do. Or, rather, be happy doing.

Looking Back, 3

A re-printing of “The Life Worth Living: Deadline for London, September, 2008”(TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2007)

My friend, Steve, is driving to Colorado from Texas right now. He’s on the road at this very moment and I’ve spoken to him several times already on the phone today – he’s bored and I’m hyper – but as we talk he’s occasionally exclaims: “Wow, that’s beautiful.”

Life makes unexpected twists and turns when you least expect it. It’s like driving down a highway – a 100 mile straight shot – and all of a sudden you find yourself winding through a forest in the mountains. Or you see something you have to stop and take pictures of – a dilapidated red barn, a lake that stretches on for miles… What was once a boring, repetitive drive through a barren monotone wasteland becomes a trip where it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road.

I have been driving in this one direction for several years – almost six in Los Angeles – trying to make something of myself. And I am fine with this fight to become a filmmaker. I am not tired of that, but what I am tired of is not being invigorated by my surroundings.

Jaime is in love with Prague. She adores her adopted city. Every day she says things like, “Look at this place! God, it’s ugly, isn’t it? I hate Prague. Hate it.” And she adorably stands there, smiling ear to ear, surrounded by beautiful architecture that she sees every day when she walks out her front door. She’s completely IN LOVE with her city and everything it entails.

Life is too short to not love the place you’re in. I want my life to be filled with the urge to take your eyes off of the road ahead of you. I’m going to be thirty soon and my tolerance for the unimportant, the uninteresting, and the unremarkable – in things, places and especially people (although I do have wonderful friends here) – is beginning to weaken. My patience is wearing thin.

What re-kindled that spark in me that almost made me move to London last October? I had written an e-mail to Gary, who is now back in his home in France, and I wrote this:

“So I’m terribly jealous of you right now, because I know you are probably sitting in some wonderful French villa in your beautiful town enjoying a glorious day. And if it’s raining, it’s still perfect compared to LA.”

What I got in return inspired me greatly: “Yeah, life is good here right now. Makes me wonder why someone like you hasn’t ever found her way to London? Seems like it would be more your style, and there’s a film business there as well.”

Well, it is definitely more my style… Do I really have an excuse – besides the shitty American dollar, no working visa, no way to make a living and my battle for a film career – for not moving there?

I can’t help, but think of that annoying voice that has been repeating the same old tired record in my head since college:

“Hey. You want to live in London. You have since you were ten. What if you die tomorrow? Could you live with yourself? Would you feel that life had disappointed you? Did YOU disappoint yourself? You think about your amazing childhood all the time. You compare your present life with the memories of being overseas all the time. It eats away at you. You want the Life Worth Living. You ache to experience life to the fullest! But, dear girl, you won’t be able to do it while you are in Los Angeles, let alone America. Instead, you’ve stayed in a city that made you jaded, discontented and bored. Good job, kid.”

When I was in London last, in 1999, I would walk around the city by myself, visiting the theatres, museums, restaurants and pubs, and the biggest complement I received was “Excuse me. I’m lost. How do I get to…” I was the most comfortable I have ever been in London.

So, today, I spoke to my friend, Heather, about how I want to move to London and she said she was toying with applying to a PhD program there. And that was it. She said she’ll apply and, if she got in, we would move there together. Next fall…

Regardless of whether or not she makes it to London, I am going to go. I will be almost thirty – the age I said I would finally move, regardless of what I’m doing, to London – and it will be the perfect time to make the leap.

JUMP!