It’s the weekend before the Great Exam, and I’m sitting in Green Line Cafe, drinking coffee, eating a cookie, composing the story of my summer (which also happens to be the story of my life), and hoping for a little magic. Here’s where it begins; here’s where it ends; here’s where it all happens.
Yes, I’m hoping for a little magic–some dizzying and luscious alchemy that will transform a summer of reading into something like a gemstone, to be held up and appraised from all angles, noting where exactly it catches and reflects light like a prism, where it is scratched or damaged, where it is particularly opaque. I want to turn this timespace into something I can hold in my hands, a dynamic and plastic thing with physical and chemical properties that I can turn and shape in my hands. Color: The green of sunlit leaves, shadowy and sunlit at turns. Momentum: variant. Ductility: High, especially around affect and justice. Melting point: close. Electric potential: infinite.
I should be writing my introduction right now, but there’s something telling me to take pause, to reflect, to give myself time to express to you, dear reader, what it is that the summer meant to me. And in proper 50-Book paranoia, it meant everything. The time, I realized, is now–it’s here–it has announced itself. There is good work to be done; there are books in this world that by their sheer fact of existence call me, or something like me, into being. It is enough. It is now. I, with both extreme hesitation and yet none at all, am ready.
This summer, despite itself, was a gift. After all, ’tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. And while the study of literature is anything but simple, there is still a true simplicity to it that I want, above all, to carry with me into this great and sometimes terrifying world. If I can keep this in mind — the fact that I love what I do, or at least am capable of it; the fact that the work is exciting, generative, and self-renewing, no matter how many times I have to prove it to myself once more; the fact that life is difficult, the world complex, and literature strangely moving — if I can keep these things in mind, whatever bowing and bending is involved with this exam and this profession, not only will I not be ashamed, but I think I may even be delighted. Or grateful. Or a feeling I would closely equate to that of love.
Here’s where it ends, yes. Here’s where it begins, of course; one is always stumbling into beginnings. But it’s the feeling of it all happening that I’d like to dwell on, a spirit and physical property of thought that hopefully will surface as I open a new document and begin my introduction.