Category archives for photographs
Let’s just propose a definition for “hipster,” shall we? Quit slinking around and say —
Today, hipsters are people who are interested in food; design, particularly Scandinavian and American mid-century styles; and processes of creation. The latter interest tends to spur a desire for purity, or “authenticity,” and hence an idealization of travel, the outdoors, and by-hand, or “artisanal,” production.
There. Done. It’s the Romanticism of the twenty-first century, really. I’ll chill a bit, I think; try to be careful, try to be critical, and whatever I wear will always look silly ten years down the line.
That’s how I feel; it’s so a part of me, I can’t escape it. I cannot escape it; it’s just a reality. [ . . . ] If I could be something other than Christian, especially if it was something cooler than Christian, I would totally do that! I cannot escape that it feels like God rescued me through this particular symbol system, this one, even though I had problems with it in the way it was given to me in my upbringing. It’s a very recent idea in human history, that you can choose your own symbol system.
— Nadia Bolz-Weber on Fresh Air, 9/17/2015
When I was seventeen, I flew to Seattle to stay with my aunt in lieu of attending a program at Oxford that had accepted me but was too expensive for us. I took long walks around the block on the phone with my parents, starting to cry when my mom said she missed me. I felt keenly the strange difference of an atheist’s home. My aunt had just lost her job, and I barely knew her, and so for three weeks, I lay on the floor of my room reading first Moby-Dick and then Vanity Fair and we searched for things in common and she began to teach me to cook. At the end of a dinner party, a friend who hadn’t really spoken to me suggested we read a particular Seattleite’s food blog. I clicked over and read about the restaurant that would open the week after I left, and began to read the archives, and began to go farther back, and began to dream of being like Molly. When I returned after my freshman year of college, I begged my aunt to take me to Delancey. She was skeptical; I, besotted.
Four years later, I sat on the floor of my year-old apartment in Vancouver, eating Thai takeout and drinking an unmeasured but wonderful cocktail out of a mug: orange juice, Aperol, and two-day-old prosecco. Had I planned to mimic Luisa Weiss or Molly Wizenberg or even Julia Child, I reflected, I would have moved to Paris. I felt kinship with those heroines, but I had picked Vancouver.
I moved to Vancouver to do something bold and new. I was tired of Philadelphia, or rather, of nineteen-year-olds telling me “You must leave to grow up.” I knew leaving college was going to be hard, but I didn’t know it was going to make me feel so immature. I got to Canada and curled up in a ball and wept for eleven months. I told people that I’d love the year in hindsight: all the reading I got to do; the beautiful, beautiful streets I walked up and down and the strange, new views; the freedom of anonymity and lack of responsibility; the flexible job with regular, reasonable paychecks; etc. etc.
I didn’t love it in the present, though. I was so, so sad. Six months in, I knew Vancouver wouldn’t, couldn’t work. At the end of a year, I dissembled my entire apartment, stacking books tightly in cardboard boxes and swathing every wine glass and framed print in yards of tape and bubble wrap. I flew home. And then, three weeks later, I flew to North Africa, to disorient myself more.
Every week, I feel a bit more like a character in a novel, or the author of a blog. I feel like I’m gypping the world: today, my story sounds cool, but I’m not at all cool. I’m terrified of strangers, and insecure with friends. I’ve never been on — or been invited to — a fun spring break vacation, and I can rarely force myself to sit still to read novels for fun.
Somehow, though, my life has begun to sound like a book, or a blog. I’m becoming a real person, a brave person, an adult, a person with a story. Going places and doing things. A real person. A real person.
“Now listen to me, please: On a winter day, when you were a lycée student, it was snowing, and you were lost in thought. You could hear God inside you, and you were trying to forget him. You could see that the world was one, but you thought that if you could close your eyes to this vision, you could be more unhappy and also more intelligent. And you were right. Only people who are very intelligent and very unhappy can write good poems. So you heroically undertook to endure the pains of faithlessness, just to be able to write good poems. But you didn’t realize then that when you lost that voice inside you, you’d end up all alone in an empty universe.”
Orhan Pamuk, Snow