Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Pics Posted...

Some more pics from the Travel Writing class. Here's a link and here's a sampling:

From London & Scotland TRIP


From London & Scotland TRIP


From London & Scotland TRIP


From London & Scotland TRIP


From London & Scotland TRIP


From London & Scotland TRIP


From London & Scotland TRIP

The Beauty of Being London

I'm experimenting a bit with some writing styles, and put this piece together in about a half an hour. It's raw, but I think it sets a tone. And yes, I know "indescribability" is not a word. But I think it needs to be. Anyways, here it is:

I’m watching the water in the Thames River move upstream. It’s a chalky brownish color, constantly digging up silt from the bottom and regurgitating it to the top. It looks like chocolate milk; thick, brown, and velvety textured.

As I lean against the black wrought iron railing, I’m trying to figure out what London means to me. Trying to find some symbolic likeness that could sum up the city, the people, and the vibrations of this ancient, new, hip, square, traditional, cutting edge place. And then light dawns: this place can’t be summed up; my quick fix, fast solution mind can’t wrap it up into a neat little package. London simply is. It will always be, and it has always been.

The tides of the sea have swept up and down this river for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Before a city was here, the Thames was throwing its murky waters onto these banks. When the Romans leapt over it, and created the city, the river never stopped. When London Bridge was built, the river kept moving in beat, in rhythm, up from the sea, and back, up from the sea, and back. Back and forth, thumping like a heartbeat, constant, and never ending. No chain can shackle it.

People move beside it, buildings are built, torn down, fires destroy, plagues kill, and the river is impervious. Never thinking, never hearing… just being. Things constantly change and the river just is.

I look up from the river, and check out the landscape and see Big Ben, lit up, looking lovely, tick-tocking away. Parliament stands beside the big clock, and the large ferris wheel hangs with them, the new kid on the block, looking for love from the older ones.

I’m standing outside the Temple tube stop on the Embankment, trying to figure out why this city holds me in its grip, and never will let go. I’ve come back four times, and will come back more, it’s allure, it’s romance, this maddening inescapable thing that I can’t describe and so desperately want to. I’ve tried everything; living here, visiting, shopping, sightseeing, drinking, playing, loving and hating in this city, and still I can’t describe the trance it holds over me.

The only thing for it then, is TO describe it. The only way I think I might be over it is to put into words how enchanting its nature is to me. So I try and fail, and try and fail. Thump, thump…. Thump, thump.

What IS London? London is the person you know who suffers from split personality disorder. Maybe you don’t know that person – but I know that city. It’s New York sometimes, sometimes San Francisco. I’ve heard it described like Milwaukee, Rome, Paris, Berlin, D.C., and all of the Manhattans: Lower Manhattan, East Side Manhattan, Upper West Side Manhattan. And every person, every description is right. In certain lights, at certain times London is all of those places. And at other times, it’s none of them.

Its complete indescribablity is what makes it the most aggravatingly lovely place on earth. So my hate/love affair continues with this place. As I stand on the banks of the Thames, outside the Temple tube station on a cool May night, with the city opening up in front of me lit in purples, and golds, and greens, nothing has changed, nothing is solved, but everything makes sense. Everything…. Is. And the river doesn’t care, it just goes about its business, moving up and down. Like it always has. Like it always will.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fantastic videos from Scully...

Mike made some great video postcards from London. Here are some of his best:






Re-energized and Ready to Roll

So day two started out with a bang. My good friend, and fantastic teacher Mike Scully energized the students with a discussion on writing for a web based audience.
From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

You can find the student blogs to the right of this screen, under the title "Travel Writing Blogs."

The blogs are a tool to get the students reflecting each and every day on what they did. To make it a bit more interesting Mike and I decided to give them a specific theme to work off of every day. Day one's theme was color.

We headed out for the Tower of London where we all hammed it up for the camera before going inside.

You can find all of the pictures of day one and two here.
From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

Drowsy and drizzled upon...

One of my favorite days of the London class is when the student's actually arrive into Heathrow. They are tired, disenchanted with the airline, yet also excited and anxious. Frankly it's an awful mix, and eventually sleep deprivation takes over. I enjoy it simply because I know what awaits them for the next three weeks. This is just the beginning -- and it can only get better.

Here are some randoms from the first day:

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

From London 2009 Days 1 & 2

Sunday, May 17, 2009

video

Not sleeping for a long time is bad for you. Who knew? Professor Mike Scully is living proof of that. The guy slept for four hours today:

But after the little nap, Mike shook off the jet lag and took to editing some video for his blog, called journalismprofessor.blogspot.com Check it out. Here are the after pictures:


Look at the man go! That's what rest can do for you. He couldn't speak prior to the nap, now he's editing video on his MacBook Pro. Proof that sleep is, in the end, a good thing.

Here's a quick shot from my bedroom window:

Students tomorrow at 9:30 am. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blogging from JFK...

So I'm just chilling at JFK waiting for my flight (is "chilling" even a word anymore? I feel like Will Smith in his "Bel Air" days). About two hours before I hop on the plane. I'll be meeting my teaching partner at Heathrow early Sunday morning. His name is Mike Scully, and he is a former professor at Ithaca College, who now works at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

He'll be helping to teach the class the first week, especially in the "art" of blogging.

Anyways, airport waits are one of my least favorite things to do. Here's a message for my Parkies who will be joining me in London on Monday.

video