Friday, September 11, 2009

First Day of School

Dear Reader,

On the arch in Washington Square Park in New York City it reads, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.”


I sat there in the park by the fountain the other day to ‘have a moment’ before I attended my first class as a Master’s student moving closer to my dreams.

I sat there and thought of Les Caulfield. Les was my high school drama teacher and as I recently learned, a graduate of the New York University Master’s in Educational Theatre program – my program. I remember right before I finished high school he advised me to find a comfortable place on campus to go to and reflect upon my past high school experiences and think about where I wanted to go with my future.

‘To reflect and dream’ is what he was suggesting. Where have I been and where do I want to go?

I didn’t complete that activity until last year. I went back to my high school campus on a stormy Florida summer afternoon, mid July and sat on a green bench and just thought. I thought about why I didn’t do as he suggested fourteen years before. I thought about what I wanted to do with myself, ‘when I grew up.’ And I reflected on the ten years since graduating college and what I had and had not set out to do and what I had and had not accomplished.

The green bench I sat upon was the bench I had lunch at every day during school. My girlfriends and I would have the best times there – just being. No thoughts of the future or the past – just there eating, having fun.

In the monsoon that fell upon me last summer, I decided I would not leave that bench until I decided that upon standing I was going to commit to finally take my life in its intended direction. Over the years innocence beget experience, but the experience didn’t always bring with it fun I had experienced so many years ago.

As I sat in the pouring rain, in the lightning and intense wind – drenching myself – cleansing myself in a sort of way – as I sat – I decided I didn’t want to be a fundraising event manager any more. I did that for five of the ten years since completing my BA in Theatre from The Florida State University. I didn’t want to live in Orlando any more. I wanted to move to New York City like I had told myself time and time again I would do some day. I wanted to affect social change in a creative way – especially towards LGBTQ equality. I wanted to immerse myself in a new way of being and have not the end result, but the journey be what I lived for, reveled in.

As I sat – in the park the other day I realized all it took to get me there staring up at the arch was the ability to listen just to myself for a change. And, in my first class on the first day of this new journey, which appropriately is a research methods class I felt relieved. And I appreciated the introduction given in the class in regard to the vast resources that are now at my fingertips here at NYU. I really did appreciate this. I can begin to see how literate leads to articulate which leads to changing the world. Seeing the utopia in my mind while studying and feeling my way through the reality of the new journey – and using these new seemingly endless resources to get a bit closer to the ideal – that’s why I am here. And that journey, thought it may be hard at times is a new kind of fun for me.

Thanks for reading.

Alan L. Bounville