Didact: An Excerpt

An excerpt from a larger work currently in progress.

An excerpt from a larger work currently in progress.

It is difficult to tell exactly why she fell in love with him. Most likely, it was his stories of his summers in New York, his associations with dangerous people, long nights of drugged-out blissful haze, and her mental image of a young man in moccasins and flannel undulating to the sad sad song of another young man in moccasins and flannel, this one standing behind a microphone and positively going to town on a vintage acoustic in acute need of new varnish. All lies of course, told to impress her. But how they just danced out of his mouth: they, like the scruffy bohemians populating his stories danced out unashamed, absurdly intricately adorned–each bit with a long backstory–into the black of his bedroom on the winged feet of Hermes, charidotes–bringer of charm.

It was difficult for him to fully realize the young man he wanted her to. Both in his stories and in real life. His characters were vibrant and real and painfully human, all lost and in need of what ancient Greeks called hodios, the patron of travelers and wayfarers.

It was not difficult, however, to keep spinning these stories for her. Nor was it too hard for him to take on some of the character traits of his creations. That’s why he dated a Midwesterner, who knew nothing of New York, of the shabby-chic bobos he claimed to know, of the run-down exposed-brick studio apartments in the Village that cost more per month than she ever hoped to make in a summer as a lifeguard at the community pool. Truth is, she reveled in his stories as much as he fetishized her apparently totally earnest recollections of banal small-town life in the bit just north of Chicago’s hinterland in Wisconsin, which by his best estimates ended just short of Madison.

We are the stories we tell ourselves and to others. She imagined him to be mysterious and literary and fiercely protective of his ideals, and he imagined her as the squeaky-clean inviolate brunette that sets all the town’s males’ hearts aflutter. Each was the other’s perfect. Stories, you know. Gussied up a bit. Just for show. That killed him, just a smidge, realizing that she never will know him. Who needs honesty when better is the enemy of the merely good?

The Declaration of Student Involvement in the United Nations Academic Impact

Click the link to view & download the newly-revised Declaration of Student Involvement in UNAI/ASPIRE (in .PDF format).

In an earlier post, I publicized a Declaration student leaders of the UNAI initiative wrote. Not to take credit for the thoughts of other people, it was I who did the bulk of the writing. I did not, however, come up with the bulk of the ideas… that credit goes to my teammates Patrick Ip, Blaire Byg, Gladys Banfor, May Yeung, Vivien Sin, Ryan Bober, Jason Zavaleta, and Richard Pichardo–the latter of whom decided to cut out halfway through the drafting session but nonetheless was instrumental in fostering a boisterous bonhomie in the prim Manhattan coffee shop where said drafting session was hosted.

The Declaration went through a re-edit to incorporate the United Nations’s new program, ASPIRE. I do not know what the acronym stands for. It is the student-participation part of the United Nations Academic Impact.  Since its original drafting a month ago, it’s taken on its first amendment, a response to the general will among ASPIRE leadership to meet on an annual basis to foster further collaboration.

Initial Thoughts on New Haven

I fly back from New Haven, CT today. My cab comes in 6 hours. 

I’ve been doing a lot of contemplative wandering around Yale’s campus (particularly Old Campus, which I find the most charming) over the past two days.  In the past week, I’ve danced without pants, attended a fraternity party in a house that was–approximately–as hot as the surface of the sun, gone to New York City where I visited art museums and, later, the bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey where TLC films its hit show, Cake Boss. Upon returning to NYC I ate pizza that obliterated the barrier between the theoretical Platonic ideal of what sauce and cheese and basil and crust can ever hope to achieve in concert and this ideal’s actualization.

In this seven days I re-read, for the second time this summer, This Side of Paradise and a short story collection, Oblivion, by David Foster Wallace.  

I met some truly spectacular people, had great conversation, and am indebted to the eight or nine (I can’t quite remember) occupants of a house on Dwight for a really delicious vegetarian dinner.  I thank the high school and college students both from Yale and other institutions in the courtyard of Davenport College for making snide remarks about- and sharing a deep-seeded hatred for that which might be called saccharine or insipid, i.e. that which leads to severe mental flabbiness or the cerebral equivalent of cellulite-afflicted thighs.

A very special “thank you” goes out to a particularly politically ambitious high school acquaintance of mine, a Beirut-spectating encounter with whom at the aforementioned hotter-than-Hell fraternity party led to one of the more satisfying taxi rides of my life the following morning… at his expense.

I promise more ruminations on my experience visiting Yale are forthcoming.  In the meantime, keep a lookout for a post that goes live tomorrow morning at h600 CST. It is a co-blogging effort with a couple of close friends.