The London Chronicles

Two summers ago, I spent three weeks abroad to finish up my masters degree. I learned so much in those three weeks, and hold them amongst my happiest memories.  During these weeks, we were asked to make what we lovingly referred to as a Journal, but was really more like a portfolio/scrapbook hybrid. We had art and writing assignments alike, all gathered together in this book. At the time, it was annoying in theory. We spent hours collecting information, drawing, painting, writing, cutting and gluing this Journal together.  Hours that we could have been gallivanting around London, exploring Oxford, or really doing anything else at all.

However, looking back? Those hours cooped up together were some of my best memories of those weeks. We got to know each other in a very unique way. I felt – and still feel – a very strong connection to these girls, even when we go a while without seeing each other, because of these weeks we spent together and these hours we bonded over what seemed to be the most horrific of assignments.

This trip is what first tested my writing boundaries outside of just words-from-imagination or words-from-experience. I had taken a writing class the semester before that pushed me to write in different genres than just personal narrative, and pushed me even further to share my writing with others. It rekindled a fire and passion for writing inside me that had started to burn out after years of writing paper after boring paper.

One of the boundaries I was forced to cross was writing about art. For some reason, I had gotten it stuck in my head that all writing needed to be completely original. 100% your own, not stemming from anything else. Which, in retrospect, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  Whatever my reasoning was before, it was thrown out the window when we were given a few different writing assignments that specifically asked us to draw from specific other things – write a poem from the perspective of a character from this book, write a letter from one character of this play to another, write a story about what is going on in this painting, etc.

I want to share this Journal with you. I want to let you hold it and feel it and experience it with me. Alas, they have yet to create a way for us to touch and feel through the computer. So instead I will do my best to share what I believe is worth sharing from this journal, in a series of posts that will come whene’er they please. I’ll categorize them as the London Chronicles (even though technically one of the three weeks was in Oxford) so that they will be easy to find if you ever want to read them all at once, more like my Journal is in real life.

I won’t post the entries in order, nor will I post all of the entries. Some because they are not interesting enough to share when you can’t see the pages in real life, some because I feel self-conscious about them, some because you simply wouldn’t understand them if you weren’t one of the 20-or-so of us there on that particular trip. But I’ll share what I think might be something worth seeing, if not only to get you too look more into the particular art piece/play/book/exhibit/museum that inspired the page in my Journal.

I hope you enjoy the things to come in the London Chronicles as much as I enjoyed making them and as much as I enjoy re-living them.

At the very least, it will be a fairly unique insight into how I see art and literature. Plus, each entry will explore the very theme of the course we were immersed in throughout the three weeks – multimodality. Multimodality is about teaching and sharing through more than one medium. Sometimes it’s not enough just to teach a lesson or tell a story. Sometimes you need to accompany it with a poem or a song or a play or an art piece.

Maybe in sharing these tidbits with you, I’ll teach you something I’ve learned. Maybe you’ll teach me something. But I feel compelled to share some of these entries with you, and I feel like it’s a natural extension of the lesson(s) at hand.

I mean, what embodies multimodality more than a blog post about a poem about a drawing of a painting from a museum?

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~ by Valerie Anne on 02/18/2012.

2 Responses to “The London Chronicles”

  1. Well NOW I can’t wait for the London Chronicles to begin. When does it start?!

    • It’ll be a surprise! I’m glad you’re excited, but don’t get your hopes up TOO high. Remember, this might be unrelatable… I’m not sure yet.

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