So yes, I think we can all agree that this is the most ridiculously sweet deal. To come to London for "research" and to take every experience that occurs here as inspirational... I must be joking, right? But here's the thing: having come here specifically to write my third chapter, to meet with people and to use the LCF Library has drawn my days into sharp focus. Here, I feel a renewed sense of purpose to flesh out my ideas, and a new energy because my usual routine has been temporarily paused. Thus far I have read a book on the aesthetic economy (it's going to be very interesting to unpack that one in light of Bourdieu and his ideas of cultural capital) and a Master's thesis on cartes de visite (modernism, photography, the individual, mass culture- the synchronicities between the Modern era and this Digital era are astounding), I've rewritten my thesis chapter outline (and it's sinewy, it sings!) and I've blocked all the ideas and key examples for chapter three. All in a week's work.
So I look over my last few posts and think, 'man! I'm living the life!' And it looks like I'm not doing work at all- but that's the thing. Being here is inspiring in itself. After I've read until my brain is a brick, I can step out the door and walk down streets where this city's history is indistinguishable from its contemporality. I walk past plaques telling me this is where penicillin was discovered, this is where Sir Isaac Newtown lived. I go to Bloomsbury, am reminded of Virginia Woolf and jolt- this was her city too. I went to a bookshop the other day that has been in business since 1797- that's only 27 years after Cook reached the east coast of Australia for the first time. London teems with the characters I've read about that have lived here, and people who really did live across these streets and parks. Each time I go for a walk, I remember and am reminded and exclaim.
And it's so beautiful- the old houses, the high buildings, the trees laced with delicate Spring flowers. I just walk and look and soak in everything. So I get home, healthily weary from having employed all of my senses, having them charged, sparked, drawn out by this place. And I wake again the next day fresh, keen to see more, to read more, to write more. The effect place can have on you. Yeah, I'm loving it here.