Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finding a Voice, "And So The Tower Falls..."

Dear Reader,

I would first like to say "Thank You" for the events of this past weekend which have led me to reflect on the life which I had been given. Certainly this may sound cliche, but to be honest I'm not writing to be original, nor to please the cynical. It doesn't come naturally to me either, and sometimes I strain myself to write down whatever it is I need to say; if only to frame the thoughts which would otherwise cause me headaches and more social awkwardness. You understand right? So here I am, writing a letter saying "Thank You" for my voice. As insignificant, humble, erratic, and human as it is, it exists because of You.

"What happened this weekend which inspired her to write this?". A birdie (my sister) texted me a picture of a piece of scratch paper on which were bullet points of blog topics. Some words stood out like, "Scotland, Architecture, Traveling, Landscape, Party....". One peculiar thing hit home: "Must fit writing voice". I have a voice? Sure, I suppose it's important to have one, but I haven't developed an awareness until now. How does one speak without being judged as some self-absorbed, media and money-driven, power maniac? On the other hand, how does one speak without being seen as an underdog- reaching out to the world, shouting personal truths, and sharing his/her life as proof of existence? I care to be neither, and I'm certain there are other non-labeled voices out there. After all this, I almost wanted to pacify myself- that no matter what I said, none of it mattered and no one wanted to hear it. The human side of me said otherwise. To find a balance- first to be thankful I have one, and the other to say that if I do have a style, let others decide what it is for themselves (at least for now until I figure it out).

I suppose what really tipped me over was being able to surf on John's couch in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The heart of, what some would call, the "Hipster Zip Code", where freedom of expression is (more or less) a way of life. How earnestly the locals wanted to express themselves was made clear in the murals layered on warehouses, rusty corrugated fences, and the army of white Apple laptops crunching binary at the Swallow Cafe. I then watched Breaking Dawn this evening, and felt the tears welling up. The book of the movie was written by a woman who put her very life and personal beliefs into it. She risked all of these things, and for what? So she could be heard, and to sustain her way of life with a constant flow of zesty paychecks? Quite possibly so. In result she positively and negatively inspired her audiences and critics. No matter how many ways we could argue for or against this, maybe we're forgetting that this is part of what we call our own "Culture".

"Culture: The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively". Yeah, I Googled it.

Is "Culture" then what encourages us to find our voices? To feel Life again, to love, to validate that we're not crazy, to salve our headaches and social awkwardness by a simple act of creative expression? Is it to find confidence, and place ourselves in history? Raoul Bunschoten, an architect, cybernetician, author, and theorist who used to teach at the Architectural Association in London once said to me,

"When we (him and his family) go to Venice (for the Biennale), we're going to look at 'Culture'. We're going to attend an opera, see some cathedrals; and for some reason my son doesn't seem so excited about this." -Raoul Bunschoten

He was paying homage to the years of pain, dirty politics, love, and history that unfolded as Venice evolved it's culture. The city, I suppose in a way, was like a "Blog", if you could see it as a space or a platform for creative expression. In this way, he understood exactly what it meant to appreciate You for allowing him to exist, witness this "Venetian Blog", and prolong humanity's cultural cycle as an architect. It then makes me wonder: if none of us could communicate our thoughts; if these said cathedrals were never built, how quickly would we die from Your neglect dear Reader?

Before I finish this post, I've pasted an old Myspace entry dated August 17, 2007. I guess my voice already existed because at the time, I was struggling to stay alive. Life happened, and I bottled everything up until I found Myspace, an outlet, a tool for cultural expression made by You. If we all rely on each other to survive, please remember dear Reader, that I thank you for giving me my voice and allowing me to be here.

For the love of Life, Architecture, Arts, and Landscapes,
Lesley Ann


And So The Tower Falls...


You've been building a tower for seven years out of stone and mortar. Each stone you place, you secure it with caution, sensitivity, and careful planning. You work on it on the hour, every hour, and every day either through your thoughts or labor. It becomes the tower of your dreams.

One day, you fall in love with this tower. You become best friends, kindred spirits. Every morning when the sun rises, it shines its beautiful stones on you, and warms your face. You no longer feel cold in its presence. It loves you back. It lets you sit on its stairs as you read books to it. You trace your fingers on each stone and feel its coarse texture, and you are thankful for its strength. Through its echos it laughs with you when you're happy.

You bring your family to see the wonderful relationship you have together. It is a pillar of strength. Each accomplishment is celebrated. You know each other's secrets and desires and you can read each other like a book.

Six years and 9 months have passed. On the 9th month, the tower feels the urge to become a castle. It wants to become a castle so it could take better care of you, shelter you, and raise a family in a proper home. It wants to grow up. You trust the tower's decision, and he contacts another architect in a far away land who specializes in castles. In order to be properly built, he must be moved to another location where there is a stronger foundation. You are sad, but you know it's for the best. The tower reassures you that nothing will happen, that in one year, the two of you will be reunited. You trust him.

The two of you share a final farewell, a hug and a kiss....

Two months pass....

The tower falls in love with that other architect, but doesn't tell her that he has someone special back at home. The architect decides that their relationship has potential, so she decides to date him, and remove the stones you have carefully placed, and replace them with new ones. In a month, he looks different, behaves differently, thinks differently. His silhouette has changed. He wants other architects to touch him, to remove his stones and place new ones in. He wants to be different, to be wild. He never thought independence was so sweet, but guilt lingered in his halls.

Close to your seven-year anniversary, you decide it would be nice to pay your tower a visit, and perhaps find a home closeby so you can see each other more often. The tower tells you on the phone several times not to come by, that he's busy and doesn't want to be bothered. You decide to come anyway, because you also want to learn how to build castles.

When you get there, you see your tower. He's different, he's emotionally unresponsive to your love. He has different stones in him. He's crumbling, but he doesn't care. He doesn't let you sit on his stairs and read books. He doesn't even shine in the morning for you. He's stoic, and you get suspicious. The next day, he tells you that he's been seeing other people. He wants to be different. He says he doesn't need you anymore. He says that since you've been gone, he's found out that he can survive on his own, that he's better. He wants to be independent......but he still loves you.......and he doesn't want to break your heart......

He says he still wants to become a castle............

What do you do?

Let's just pretend that nothing's broken,
Lesley Ann

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