I have feared too many things.
I cannot ask why. I am not allowed.
When I look back on it all, I somehow cannot organize it all into a single block of "experience" or happening. Instead it stretches with valleys and hillocks of memory shifting like the sea. The arrival all but fades behind the departure, until I put my mind upon't, but then the departure sinks beyond any grasping of hands, which seek to mold the memory into a contiguous whole, seeable, explicable, graspable.
I remember wondering at my going, what it would be like. I remember then again wondering what had happened, when it was over. I asked myself if I had not, perhaps, been dreaming only. I sat in a classroom a short walk still from my room, a continent away. I doze as I study in a library much like I dozed and studied yesterday; or were yesterday and that day the same?
Memories are like that, you know. They danse before, or behind you, daring you to organize them, and set them down on paper. Only men of great skill can do that. Most only end up writing somebody else's memories, forgetting their own.
I studied for an exam for 3 days straight, without much else to do. I studied in a way I'd never studied before: just staring at a page, wondering if I knew it all. That is much harder than getting to know it. I remember, I played mental games with my roommates, pretending to be insane, when I actually was, and knew it, too.
Then, most of the time, I pretended to be me, which is very hard, because it is so difficult to do. I spent a lot of time studying my reflection on others, and modelling myself on that. Ambiguous, eh?
Gently, know. I tipped the capdriver as he left me standing culturally naked in Harvard Square. "Which way is Harvard Yard"
"You haven't paid, Jared." Yes you have, they just screwed up. You're in the wrong line, kid. Now, go back to your dorm, don't worry about it.
Ah, my dorm. I took the top bunk. That's where I slept all summer. I remember it, just through that door… in a room built before California was "discovered."
I sat down one night to write a short story for my creative writing class, and began to spew carrots across my paper. I woke up, frightened. What a lousy dream.
So I wrote it down, and went to astrophysics. Yes, you're supposed to have had a high school physics course. Oops…. I bought some books and tutored myself, but I did not mind, because physics is fun.
My roommate told me he would convert me. I think I converted him, but I learned more. Nothing is certain if its foundations are shaken, is it? A lot of foundations shook last summer, I can still feel the cracks in my soul. Maybe things started shaking before I left, but I did not notice till I got there, so there is where counts.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun….
I said goodbye and went into the airport – was that leaving or coming? My bunkmate, Héctor, said, "Okay." That's the last I heard. It was surely the longest sentence he'd used when talking to me.
No, but Boston is truly crazy, if you've been there, especially after having never been there before. I ran the whole length of Commonwealth Avenue once, late for something. Steve was along, surely a devil's advocate. Always the devil's advocate.
He's the one who took me to a punk concert – me, I'd never even been to a classical concert before. I was amazed, yes: the various different kinds of people in the world.
Harvard Summer School, I rolled it in my mind. I have memories of it, from before I went, because I daydreamed. These memories should be the best, except they lack dimension. Those kind always do, though. I wrote a lot of poetry, even without a class. Not a whole lot, really. Just, well, enough. And my short story. You can read it. [No – I've lost every copy I had of it.]
I thought it was so great, at first. I was proud. I had born my own creation. Now I have my doubts. It is with much hesitation that I submit it here, with these memories. Keep in mind that the story is a symbolic autobiography of me. It deals with my interpretating some almost universal fears and emotions.
Anyway. One experience I had that might require some explanation. I discovered a fourth dimension. Well, just speculation…. I was sitting at my desk one day, procrastinating (tell me, you never procrastinate?) and staring at my assignment sheet for writing in the face. But my mind was on astrophysics, and math, and such things as are prone to occupy my mind. (All too curious.) It occurred to me this following:
If there is a fourth dimension, then it can be said to be in a direction perpendicular to all others. (Just as when you lift a plane to create a third, you are moving in a direction [perpendicular] to all others previously taken into account.) Well, if an object then chooses to move away into the distance of the fourth dimension, from my point of view, while staying stationary on the other axes, then it will, in essence, appear to recede while in place. How now? It seems, thus, to shrink! From this, the fourth dimension is none other than scale.
This discovery has occupied mind for untold hours, to no avail. I do hope someday I shall clear it up.
I kept a journal last summer. It was filled with anger, and discovery, and frustration and joy at the end. But without the memories, it is empty.
I read it out loud to my roommates. I think they liked it. They must have liked to see me strip off my costume, reveal the suffering, erratic soul beneath. But by the end my journal was often for them too read, and so it lost its naked truth, and became a sort of underwear, or better yet, a bullet-proof vest to wear under a shirt.
(Of course, I fell in love, several times. But oh so shallow, beside my longing for a girl at home.)
So what did you do last summer? "Oh, I don't know. I went to Harvard, goofed around." What did you study? "Creative writing, astrophysics – oh, no - I studied myself." Did you learn anything? "Sure, I learned a lot. But that is nothing in an infinite universe. There is much more out there."
[The "retroblogging" project: this is a "back-post" transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28. I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back. It's a big project. But there's no time limit, right? The above entry was written shortly after I returned from my experience at Harvard, between junior and senior years in high school.]