Since I can not muster any sense of urgency, I am wondering if I’m doing myself a disservice. A bit of panic before the main event is always good, and keeps me on the edge of effort. The lack of panic, because I’m quite confident that I’ll do well, may make me complacent about the tests. However, it feels like I am done with this school now. It is a closed chapter, and I’m only writing the epitaph of my time here.
The strangest thing is the feeling I have toward the other people who have been around for so long now – for two whole years of sometimes quite intense camaraderie. It’s been us against the world, or at least us against the staff. Now it feels like they are ghosts that just linger in the periphery of my vision, and soon they will dissolve and I won’t think about them any more. Like with the people at my old school. They used to be so important to me, and my comparative status in relation to them were more important than anything. Now, I struggle to remember many of the names. The other day I actually had to search Facebook to find the name of a bloke I used to hang out with a lot. Will it not be the same with these people? In two years time, will I remember half of them? I doubt it.
The people who actually matter to me are coming with me to the University. Ben and Abbie are going to the same faculty as I am. Ben is going to do creative writing, and Abbie is going for linguistics. I am enrolling to study the history of literature. My Extended Project has made me interested in the subject of literary history, and I want to pursue that. Like the poet and cleric John Donne wrote in his Meditation 17, the paragraph that’s his most famous out of context quote, no man is an island. Literature is the mirror of the island; the essence of thinking rather than a finished vision as in other art-forms. The books, essays, articles are the bells that toll through the ages, and they toll for us, and show us our place.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manner of thy friend’s or of thine own were any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
This angle also keeps me, I hope, from an aspect of literature studies that I think I actually dislike – the one-upmanship that is going on where research and texts are about the cleverness of the researcher rather than about any truth or aspect of the source text. Maybe in literature history, I can keep that side of the field at bay. Maybe by not focusing on what an author thought, but of a process and a time that shaped an author, I can keep me with my nose in a dusty tome away from the intellectual drama of the rest of the contemporary rootless literary world that see ism instead of ideas.
With Ben and Abbie at my side, my trusty side-kicks. we shall be the three musketeers of poetry and song and reason in a world that may be filled with both posers and experts. It will be us against the world. Or us against the staff. Or us against the other students.
The rest of the students in my year… the rest were just temporary people who were nice to know, but we are all moving on and moving elsewhere. None of us, I or them, particularly mind it. How can you drop people like worn gloves? You enjoy them while you need them, and then just move on when you don’t?
At home, there is Mark. My rock. My support. The one that can slap me over the head when I’m being stupid and silly, or who can pick me up when I need to be. Things change. Environments change. The words in my head change. The colour of my thoughts change. The depths of my psyche change. Everything changes. Except for him.
I think that is why I feel confident, assured, that things will be all right. Even if things fall apart, they will be all right, because he’ll be there. Maybe I am being complacent about the tests, and maybe I am doing myself a disservice, but aren’t the tests just a mirage anyway? Everyone says I will never look at the diplomas once I get them. So what is there to worry about? And if I don’t worry, then maybe worry won’t lock me down with doubt, and maybe I will be confident enough to blaze through them, and then be done with them.
There is that too. I’m sure the song I’ve posted will run through my head as I walk out of the school for the last time, never to come back to it and to the people.