Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Adolescent Town

So I'm in Connecticut now, trying to envision my life here. This includes attending community events, reading and running, and trying to find some moments of silence to blog and write. After three days, I've picked up Louise Erdrich's The Blue Jay's Dance, continued down Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden, and have finished another chapter in Mark Kingwell's Concrete Reveries.

This last one is proving to be a challenge, with words like adumbrated used to describe postmodern architechture and the fact that architechture was the first medium to witness the rise of postmodernism.

But last night it paid off.

See, I come to this small New England town of about 7,000 every couple months. The first time it was all about trips down memory lane, as my honey regailed me with stories from his youth, of hiking trips and cemetary toboggoning. My next visit came in the springtime, when everything is at its peak and life in Thomaston looked good.

Now, I'm here for a month, in preparation for my semi-permanent move here next fall. And late November is proving to be grey, wet, and generally unfriendly. (To think last year at this time we were in Hawaii!)

In any case, as I stuggle to find a suitable, moderate perspective on this transition, Kingwell -- and Jed Perl -- come to my rescue.

While they discuss NYC, and the lurching feelings of ambition and discouragement one experiences upon moving there, I'm thinking my own wedded bliss in Thomaston could be seen in such a light:

Kingwell borrows Perl's term "the adolescent city" to describe "that shimmering land of half-fantasy, at once true and false, that presents itself to artists and writers when they first come to write about a place such as New York or Paris or London [or Thomaston]-- that sense of alightly awed but boldly sanctioned arrival, or Gatsbyesque ambition about to succeed (or not), dreams about to be realized (or dashed). I mean the way we all feel when, well-dressed and fresh-faced at east in imagination, we step off the train for the first time at Grand Central or Gare du Nord or King's Cross."
-- Mark Kingwell, Concrete Reveries

Considering this last depiction, perhaps its marriage itself that is the new town, the new land, that is open for conquering as much as it is collapse. Or maybe it was all those youngens I was hangin with last night, smoking cigarettes in their parents living room and playing beer pong, that made me feel adolescent again.

Either way, something is about to begin.

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