The summer is almost over. This prolonged-goodbye, gorgeous gift of a summer. After graduating from Amherst College in May, I was awarded a fellowship to seek publication for my senior thesis, “A Form of Thinking Called Arendt,” and I jumped at the opportunity not only to release this piece of writing that I care so much about into the world, but also to spend two last mellow, sun-soaked months in the Pioneer Valley while enough continuity still exists to call it home, rather than what it will have to be now, a place I visit sometimes. It was draining enough to try to say goodbye to all my people, my dear friends and beloved mentors, after graduation, and so I was grateful to have a little bit more time to say goodbye to the place. And so, in between carving into the 125-page document that I had arbitrarily, and of course incorrectly, declared “finished” last April, I wandered up and down the bike path, contemplated Tuttle Hill, and allowed myself the nostalgia that has been preemptively shaping the contours of my time at Amherst since the first time I saw the view from Frost to Memorial Hill.
I’m sad, almost horrified, to realize that I will not be in New England for the foliage this year. Autumn has always been my favorite season, for the colors of the leaves, the crispness, and the excitement of going back to school. Maybe that’s the thing, though—I’m not going back to school. For the first time in ~18 years, this rhythm has been shaken, and even thought the nights are getting colder, I can feel myself slowing down rather than speeding up. I’m missing the changing of the leaves, I should say, because I’m heading back to Cape Town to work once more at the Legal Resources Centre in October and November. I couldn’t be more thrilled. LRC-CT-Take-II requires it’s own blog post—hell, even it’s own blog—but for now I’ll just say that there’s a kind of poetry in the fact that I’ll retreat to Cape Town’s early summer, skip fall almost entirely this year, and then hopefully realign it once more with Back to School next year for graduate school.
This blog has always been a kind of scrapbook, less writing than reblogs, bits of beauty that I want to commemorate and share. And the truth is, I hate writing about myself. Lili has always been the blogger. I would so much rather write in the style where I feel most like myself, namely, when I’m writing about theory. For me, that always means trying to occupy the gap between, the non-coincidence of, thinking and action, theory and activism, solitude and the shared, political world. As I take on the project, which must be done intentionally to an extent if it is to be done well, of trying to process the last four years, I need to let that contradiction lie exposed in my own writing. There is a permanence to having written that clashes with the unfinished quality that inheres in all writing through which, in the act of releasing it into the world. we relinquish our control. I’m ready to release my stranglehold on the various self-narrativizations that formed the framework of my time at Amherst. Not because they no longer matter but because they matter so much, and because I want to step away from them and try to recognize them anew. I want to save them and myself from the ways in which the stories we write for ourselves about our own lives become cliches. And I’m committed to the project of trying to love writing, not just the feeling of having written. Overcoming the desire for ignorance; letting myself go.
I don’t know whether and how often I will write. I do plan to share some of the (un)finished writing that has occupied my time recently on this blog. I’d like to let go of some of the things that I’ve written in my head about sexual violence, self-care, anxiety and depression, health, and healing. I’d like to write about politics, about the questions that our time is posing to us. But I’m also secure in the idea that sometimes the only space for such conversations is among friends, those authos allos, other selves, with whom I can feel at home in the world. You all are who I write for, in any event.
With that in mind,