When I was younger, I used to believe that love was something magical. I thought that when one fell in love with someone it was meant to last forever. Love was the most powerful thing in the entire world. It could be eternal and it was meant to be so. Because if not, then what was the purpose of loving someone so much? Of loving them for so long? It had to mean something. So in my head it meant that you had found the love of your life and that you were going to love them forever and ever, and live happy ever after (or unhappily ever after because they didn’t love you back. But they would one day, because they had to).
What would happen if we could stop time? If we could freeze a moment for as long as we wanted to, or stretch it and make it last forever. Is it possible to live that way?
I have wanted to stop time many times in my life. The one I remember the most was not so long ago. I guess we unconsciously want to prolong many moments in our lives, but only in certain times we consciously think about it and say the words out loud in our heads. “I wish I could stop time and live like this forever”, that’s usually my kind of thought. I wish time wouldn’t move at all. Sometimes I even wish it could go backwards and be able to enjoy everything once again. Savor the same fraction of time as many times as I want.
I wonder what would happen if we could do it. Would everything stop? Or just us? Would our lives remain the same? Would we want it to stop at some point?
I’m concerned with this questions because I think it is not right. If we could stop time, then absolutely nothing would happen. Our lives depend on the passing of time, and this is not some significant breakthrough. We tend to overlook the simplest things in life. Without time, there is nothing. We move in time. So, if time stopped, we wouldn’t even be able to move. You know in movies, when some awesome super powerful character freezes the present, and they somehow are able to continue talking and walking and making a cool speech about whatever? That wouldn’t be the case at all! What makes us believe we can escape our own wish to freeze time? We would be frozen just like everybody else. That’s the truth.
I know that this is not what we mean when we think we want time to stop. What we really want is to keep things just the way they are right now. We don’t want interruptions, we don’t want change, we don’t want anything less than what we have now. But change is inevitable. And time won’t stop. So, when this thought pops into my mind and refrains me from enjoying the present, I go over the scientific impossibilities of time freezing. Just to keep my feet on the ground.
That time we went to Glencoe.
I was going through a rough time. I remember feeling terribly homesick (no idea that a couple of weeks later I would feel even worse) and stuck. I always imagined my semester abroad as the one thing that I needed to clear up my mind, find myself and make the choices I knew I’d have to make very soon. As always in life, it was not working. I know now that actually it was, very slowly, at its own pace… but no, I wanted it to happen fast, I wanted to touch that strange land and instantly feel a change. The change.
Tomorrow, Saturday 2 September 2017, it’s been a year since I left to Scotland for my study abroad semester. I’m so aware of it that every day the thought pops up in my mind, as if it is a kind of alarm I cannot turn off. It seems almost impossible that a year has passed, and that everything changed so much since. I think of myself a year ago, only a couple of days before flying, packing my things, saying the last goodbyes, and I realize how clueless I was about the way this trip was going to change my life. I’m completely honest when I say that I could not have imagined myself a year later the way I am now, with all the things that happened in the middle.
I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old. I always say this when people ask me about how I got into it. Everything started with, well, fanfiction. We are all a bit ashamed to assume that our love for writing started in fanfiction.net, for a reason I still don’t quite understand. It gets even worse when the only fanfics you ever wrote were about Twilight, because no, I didn’t get into literature and writing because of Shakespeare, or Austen, or Hardy, or Joyce, or Wilde, or Poe. It wasn’t Frankenstein nor Dracula. I was not ashamed of it before, but when you jump into the academic world and share your experiences with your classmates and professors you start doubting yourself and questioning… Does this make me a non-legitimate English Literature student? Even worse: does this make me a bad writer?
If I have to be honest, I’m not sure I have the answer to this question. I’m sorry. I go through it almost every day, and I still don’t think I can come up with an answer. All I know, and this I can share with you, is that I’m trying not to let it bother me anymore. I’m done with it. Because the only thing it does is keep me from moving forward. It makes me doubt of my capacities and of myself. It pushes me back.
I know that not having read Thackery could make me a bad English lit student, but I don’t think it makes me worse than any other pseudo-writer. Of course that reading enriches your mind and is essential when we talk about writing, but I read lots of other stuff. I’m sure we all have our favorites and sometimes those favorites are not a hundred years old. Even though I do like nineteenth and early twentieth century literature, there are some authors from those periods (and even older) that simply do not call my attention or interest. Sometimes, after a whole semester of Shakespeare and Henry James and Dickens, I rather read something from this century. Okay, yes, we all agree that Twilight is probably not the best example, but even so is that really that bad? More than ever I have the feeling that if we do not respect the canon, or put it first in our reading list, we are certainly doomed to be catalogue as bad students, bad readers and bad writers.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying it is completely okay to skip the heavy, dense classics, because at the end of the day I’m still a literature student. Even when you’re not a big fan, the least you can do is try to read them, maybe not out of fun but out of curiosity: they are the big deal for a reason, right? So go on, try them, set it as a goal, but do not feel bad about yourself if you don’t like them, or if you couldn’t pass from the first thirty pages, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can’t force yourself into liking something.
So I’m gonna be bold right now and answer my own question: no, not having read The Picture of Dorian Gray when I was fourteen years old doesn’t make me a bad writer, nor the fact that Twilight was the book that took me into literature and writing. It doesn’t matter how we got into it, and it doesn’t matter if we don’t read Bukowski or Hemingway or if we do not considered them our inspiration at the moment of taking pen and paper. Maybe one day I will read them and find it fascinating –or maybe I’ll find them terrible–, and hopefully one day I will be able to read all of Shakespeare’s plays and finish Anna Karenina –book that I started in 2013, by the way–. However, for now, I’ll just stick to my beautiful copy of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and write my own awesome shit.
I’ve been writing a lot about how I feel towards certain things. It sounds a little bit abstract sometimes, not talking precisely about it. I haven’t done it because I’m afraid there is not space nor words enough to write all the things that happened during my semester abroad. That’s the problem, you know, once your “erasmus” semester is over: what to do with all the memories? Being a writer, of course that the only thing I can do with them is just…write them down. Slowly, piece by piece, memory by memory. Anyway, this is just another short version of a very long story.
I’ve been doing a loooot of inner-thinking lately. Since I became single I simply have too much time to think about myself. Even though I also had plenty of time to do this while I was in Scotland –and later on while I was travelling–, the truth is that my mind had more important things to think about at the moment. Things like partying and enjoying my new friends and my new feelings (and also more boring stuff like making ends meet). I was so struck, so amused by all these things that were incredible and that were happening so fast that I didn’t really stop to think too much about myself.