Monday, June 06, 2005

This is a momentous week for me. It's a transition time. I am heading into my graduation. This coming Sunday I fly to New York for the last of my "scheduled" pre-Bennington stops. Since June of 2003 I have been making the trek to New York and then to Vermont twice a year, so I've started to fall under the illusion that I live bi-coastally.

New York, of course, has its rightful place in my life, as my family hails from there, and it's where I spent the first seventeen summers of my life and made many subsequent trips. But since my grandparents have moved out here, and I no longer have their reliable hub to count on, New York has become a mixed bag. It's always great to visit my cousin and family, and my good friends who live there, but something happens to me in New York. Once I get to Bennington, I'm always just fine; it's a little home, with reliable meals, a gorgeous campus, and my friends who form a mini-family while I'm there. But New York, though familiar too in its own way, always throws me into a little bit of an existential crisis that I can't quite figure out. New York throbs and pulses, wails and beats at me, and I start to feel like an open channel that can't shut out all the noise. I feel emotionally high and low there, as if I can tap into all my parents experiences, those days of their youth in the East Village, their courtship, their family trials, all those foundational experiences that were forming the possibility of me.

It's like New York is my brain, or my DNA, somehow, and when I come close to it, face to face with its intensity, so very opposite from my quiet California upbringing and current life, it jars me in some way, not just for obvious reasons, but because I could so very easily have been born there. My parents considered it for a time. I think it also has something to do with my extreme sensitivity to place. Physical locations have a powerful effect on me that I know has nothing to do with the scenery. Any time I have gone to the town of Santa Cruz in my adult life, I have felt a suffocating sense of despair and left early. Parts of France resonated so powerfully with me I was sure i'd lived there before, like the town of Ravenna, as well as parts of Italy. The town of Bakersfield makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I can breathe in most sea-side towns (Santa Cruz excepted). New York, well New York, with its wide-range of ethnicities, its historical connection to so many places feels to me like I am everywhere at once. I'm like a medium who can't hear what psychic messages are being sent to her; instead, I just feel odd, open, moved.

Back to the topic...I am graduating from my Masters program at the end of this month. On June 25th, I get "hooded," which sounds vaguely cult-like, and then I get my diploma. I will have concluded this two year journey which has had a profound effect on me. My husband and both my parents are flying out at the end to witness it, which, in and of itself is a big deal. Yesterday I gave a version of my lecture to my husband and my mom. It was a revealing experience. The lecture was both better and easier than I thought on one hand, and more painful and nerve-wracking on another. I realized how vulnerable it made me feel, and yet, how I can do this. I can stand up in front of those 150 people and give this bit of myself, no matter what they think of me later, no matter what my peers think, and survive it, and maybe even be the better for it. I can do this.

I will do my best to blog on my travels, but it will not be easy until I reach Bennington on the 16th. I will also upload photos. Stay tuned.



At 11:06 AM, Blogger Mary Akers said...

Good luck on your presentation, Jordan! I cried my eyes out when my low-res MFA was over. I thought I would die. I didn't of course, but I still miss the community.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger daniel olivas said...

congratulations, jordan! this is a great moment in your life. enjoy.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Sharon Hurlbut said...

Congratulations Jordan!

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

I'm so excited for you, Jordan. Congratulations on your graduation. You are an inspiration.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Katie said...

Congratulations, Jordan! Quel accomplishment!

I love what you wrote about places. As soon as I moved to the west coast, I felt like I was "home." New York totally got me too. Other places make me feel stagnant and cagey. I wonder if there are any studies done on this?

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Oh thanks you guys! I will cry, Mary; in fact I'm searching for the perfect waterproof mascara now (any suggestions?)

Thanks to the rest of you. It's a big deal to me. I never thought I'd even go to graduate school...

Thanks for witnessing it.

At 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jordan!!! I can't believe how fast 2 years have gone...My graduation is sooo close too and it is all very exciting!!! I think I'm coming up to Berkeley during that time (June 25-28); don't think I'll be able to see you then, huh?):

Anyways, congrats, enjoy and keep me posted! I hope you post pics of your graduation so then maybe I can send you pics of mine!
I'm just thrilled for you!!!
Love and hugs,


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