Amelie (velvetphile) wrote in govvies,

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Five Years

Its been in my thoughts lately, lingering in the back of my mind now that I am technically an adult and those magical days seem so long ago. Governor's School was five years ago now this month, so very odd to think about how far we have all come since then.

Tonight I decided to open up my journal from Governor's School and see what I was doing on this day five years ago.

Of course I got sucked in. It is so very strange to consider that it has been five years since that summer. Strange to see what has changed and what has not, who has stuck by my side and who I have lost to time and space. I'm starting to realize that while I may have changed greatly, my fears and my doubts remain the same. Maybe they are the same for everyone or maybe they are the things that never change.

I remember coming back from Governor's School years ago and I wanted to write a journal entry every day of what my written entries were. I never did it. Now tonight, I would like to just have an overview. A brief snippet of each entry, what strikes me most in retrospect after all that has occurred since then.

To begin.

July 5, 2003
3:30 p.m.

I left this morning still crying over things left unsaid, undone and unknown. I have long anticipated this moment but now as I am on my way it still doesn't feel quite real.... This sad ball of compressed emotion resides beside another tightly coiled ball of energy waiting to burst forth. In approximately 24 hours, my life will change again...

July 6, 2003
4:00 a.m.

Arrove to a full moon over flat land,
red lights in the distance
almost feels like home
but I am alone.
Fear not sleep
but the future
tomorrow will bring.

Day One:

...I long to make some changes in my art. Looking at it today along with everyone else I realized how amateur my photos really are. I will never get anywhere with that. Today was Day One. Nowhere to go but up.

July 7, 2003
Day Two

...An exhausting night of dancing and drumming around the fountain tore my already deadened feet to shreds. But I am more alive than ever before. The pain only proves it.

July 8, 2003
Day Three

...The days feel like years but pass in fleeting moments. I am afraid to wake up and find it all a dream...

July 9, 2003
Day Four

...Tonight I took my first nude portraiture of Elise... Must organize poetry for coffeehouse... Eric is a great singer... The grotto is so peaceful at dusk...

July 10, 2003
Day Five

...Talking to Ryan last night I found it eerie to hear him echo the same thought I have had so many times over the past several months... "I came here for art... but I can't help hoping to find love..."

July 11, 2003
Day Six

...I am surrounded here by so many different people who are all so beautiful and talented that I feel somewhat out of place. It is strange because at the same time I feel a sense of belonging stronger than anything I have ever known. I suppose that most of us are outsiders still trying to fit in, even with other outsiders. Perhaps I am letting my shadows mingle too much with the light...

July 12, 2003
Day Seven

...I have to learn to stand on my own and stop lingering in the shadows of others. Being the middle child I think I have become accustomed to always being the forgotten one. I find myself trailing after others with stronger personalities and I must break free of this and become a leader in my own way... I cannot connect to everyone all at once, let it come naturally. From now on my photography and writing come first. No more hiding in corners, no more tears. Make art, live art, this is what it is all about.

July 13, 2003
Day Eight

Our first free day today also marks our one week anniversary here at Governor's School. We celebrated with our first coffeehouse of the program in which there was much poetry read and music performed but oddly, no coffee... I read Erosion and was then swarmed by people who were confused by the fact that I am in fact not a writing major because apparently, I am brilliant. This is a good feeling... I love everyone here, even the ones I do not know yet. I wish Pennsylvania wasn't so huge because I already miss them...

July 14, 2003
Day Nine

...Tonight I had the strange but very amusing experience of seeing a group of cute boys dressed in semi drag. How do those boys pull off tight pink shirts better than I ever could? I also got an amazing massage from Craig who is my new god. It was almost orgasmic, but I can only imagine having never quite experienced one of those as of yet...

July 15, 2003
Day Ten

The days are starting to run together now and I am sure once I am gone from this place, I won't be able to distinguish one from the next... Today I managed to catch the morning sun with my camera and felt the wind pull me in every direction as it roared over flat land in from the great lakes. Erie is like another world compared to Reading... Everyone walking by as I am writing keeps freaking out over how comfortable my chairs appear, haha. I love these girls... The hose went out of control today and sprayed everyone in the darkroom. Dustin and I saved the day. It was like a giant penis pissing all over the place so I grabbed it with a firm hand and Dustin turned it off like only he could. Kelly said she was going to quote me on that.

July 16, 2003
Day Eleven

Had drawing today all day which was exhausting because obviously I suck at drawing. After awhile the delerium set in and everything was much more amusing. I was trying to draw Becca and she turned into a mermaid and then my arm/leg turned into a caterpillar/scorpion which then turned back into an arm with a woman somehow attached it. Quite exciting!

July 17, 2003
Day Twelve

...Tonight I laid out on the hill by the grotto my lovely Christine. We had a very in depth conversation about fantasy movies and music and drugs and then of course the writing teacher who is definitely on drugs and many other great things. She is hilarious, she made me laugh so hard I was definitely crying. Its interesting because Christine was the very first person here I met way back at our interviews in Harrisburg in March. It was awesome to find her again and see that we both made it into the program. She doesn't live too far from me so it will be great to be able to see her once we are out of here.

July 18, 2003
Day Thirteen

Today was so incredibly busy it was ridiculous, I printed for nearly eight hours straight including my photos of Elise which turned out very well. Today was open house so there were a ton of families around except for mine but it was okay because I managed to get a lot of work done. I had dinner with Rachel and her family who are all so nice and generous, her mom talked photography with me for awhile which was very cool. Rachel is such a sweetheart that it doesnt surprise me that the rest of her family is just as awesome.

July 19, 2003
Day Fourteen

Today I had the adventure of getting lost in the 'Gorge.' What a terrible name, I should have known it was going to end badly. We had a class field trip with the alumni from last year and I got somehow separated from the group who then left without me. Spent several hours wandering in the woods lost and alone and crying for help, tearing up my hands and knees and in mortal fear of my camera being broken. Eventually some hikers heard me and helped me get back on the main path. Thats when the firemen showed up. Apparently PGSA had sent them in after me. Ironically once the firemen found me they could not find the way out again so the hikers led us all to safety. I was actually terrified for my life for awhile there, my melodramatic brain jumped to every worse case scenario possible. But I made it out okay. Now I just have to live the rest of my life being that girl who got lost in the Gorge. Poor Matt, I think I may have scarred him for life.

July 22, 2003
Day Seventeen

Tonight was the Site Specific theater performances all over campus and they were fucking AMAZING...
Some quotes: "Have you ever been to the desert? Do you know if the sun is orange... or white?" - Spoken by Molly in The Hermit.

"The faeries would steal babies from their cradles and replace them with changelings. The gypsies would steal babies and replace them with stones. Which one are you?"

The last one was a very movement oriented piece with snippets from the diaries of the actors. It was very intimate compared to the other two. As if you shouldn't be watching, but couldn't help yourself.

"I can't help but hoping that one day she will smile at me..." - Max (I am roughly quoting this one from memory but the way he said it just hit me so hard, oh max...)

Discovered today that my nude photos of Elise are actually illegal in the PGSA world. Haha. Oops.

July 24, 2003
Day Nineteen

...Today Betsey, Emma and I resolved to create a Govies community on livejournal with interests like 'ghost light' and 'doug woods' and 'govie love'. We've got to keep us all connected!

July 26, 2003
Day Twenty One

...How far have I come in my time here? Sometimes I feel as though I am moving backward, de-evolving, though perhaps I have to unlearn everything I know about the world and human nature in order to grow. I don't know if I have become any more outgoing or less dependent since I've left my security behind. I suppose I will not know my own growth until I have left and looked back years from now. What will I think of myself as I am now, in five years? How much do we ever truly change?

July 28, 2003
Day Twenty Three

Days keep passing by in a motionless blur of activity. I feel as though I am standing still in the midst of so many rushing currents that slip quickly from my grasp. Memory is such an inconsistent ripple in time, already I forget important moments I tried to engrave in my mind as they happened...My journal entries keep getting shorter... Rob licked me today... Randomness... Only ten days left.

July 29, 2003
Day Twenty Four

...Watched the Squonk Opera tonight and though it was humorous and without obvious storyline, it moved me very deeply. The transformation of Christina took her from a shy creature, pushed around and following after the bigger ones, to a bold and daring diva. Then back to a quiet but graceful beauty who retained elements of both personalities. Every piece of art in some way mirrors the artist and in turn, can reflect upon the viewer and in this case I saw myself in every movement she made and in every song she sang without any discernible words to understand. I only wish I could understand myself that eloquently or piece together where I fit and how I become whole.

July 30, 2003
Day Twenty Five

Today we painted umbrellas on our last day of drawing class, it was freaking awesome! I am terrible at drawing but I love painting because you can be so much more abstract and creative. My umbrella is very abstract but its got the whole wheel of the year on there with the tree of life and each season represented. Just not sure if it will stand up under the rain as it is acrylic. Had open studios tonight and everyone came down to visit the darkroom, people were generally amazed by my photos as well as the process itself. I literally have a list of people who have signed up to model for me. A week left and now they want me to take photos of them!

July 31, 2003
Day Twenty Six

Rob kissed me tonight and now I am all giddy and aglow. The second I stepped into the girl's dorm, somehow everyone knew. How do girls do that? It was kind of amazing, I wasn't expecting it at all though I suppose I should have. We were standing in front of the fountain in the park about to leave for our respective dorms and as I turned to go, he pulled me back and into his embrace and just kissed me there in front of everyone with the fountain sparkling behind us. It was kind of epic. He is an actor so I suppose he has a flair for the dramatic but I do believe it was the best kiss I have ever experienced. Wow. All the girls tried to pump me for details and teased me which was fun and slightly embarassing but I was too happy and silly to mind.

August 1, 2003
Day Twenty Seven

Today was a good day, one of those days just full of connection and conversation. Hard to believe these days are numbered now. I had many long conversations with Rob about sex, religion, politics, relationships, etc. He is so sweet to me although people keep trying to warn me away from him for some reason. It may sound cliche but I see a part of him that I don't think many other people do, we are very alike in some indefinable way. Both of us have this struggling need for connection and a weird humor that not everyone understands. We are both very Irish and have decided that Irish is the new term for cool. Thats so irish! We're awesome. Screw what people think.

August 2, 2003
Day Twenty Eight

Time here is winding down and I am beginning to feel it. I love spending time with Rob but I am becoming ever more aware of all there is yet to do and how little time left to do it. I feel like I should be spending every last possible minute working or getting to know everyone I don't know yet and I am full of conflicting emotions about how I should be spending my time. What do I want? I want that gorgeous melding of thought, the seamless connection of souls, the poetry of romance, affection, communication, art. I don't wish to stumble blindly into the night grasping for starlight because I believe the moon is beyond my reach.

August 3, 2003
Day Twenty Nine

Rob tells me tonight that I am beautiful, special, that I make these fleeting moments worthwhile. If I could believe him then I would love him and perhaps myself as well. I don't know how to do either. What happened to my emotional well being? Am I truly cruel and sad at the age of seventeen? Sometimes I think he might open me back up but the walls begin to close again... Tomorrow is the beginning of the end and that terrifies me.

August 4, 2003
Day Thirty

Emotional rollercoaster today ended with me perhaps more confused before as govie love is a strange and fickle thing. Time is rushing past and I don't want to let it slip by just yet. I am scared of my own emotions, this is what I have come to realize. Time is so short and I was starting to care too much about him. Tonight I talked to Rob and cried and revealed more of myself than I have to anyone here. I told him the truth, that time was short, I was starting to care too much and I want to be his friend after we leave here. Maybe we can start over instead of working our way backwards and he really listened to me. We talked for a long time and he wiped my tears away and made me feel beautiful and now I am even more confused because I don't know what I want or quite how I feel. I feel closer to him now than anyone else here. This was the connection I wanted and now I'm afraid that I might just lose it because of mishandling.

The fountain is dry
on one side
while the surface is wet
and slick beneath my flesh
something is broken inside
a pump no longer pushes
outward from the inside

I feel closer to everyone now as the time draws to an end.
How have I grown?

August 5, 2003
Day Thirty One

Too Much. Sensory Overload. Robert, Ryan, Emolly, Craig, Caitlin, Robyn, Scott, Adam, Max, Delilah, Norrell, too fucking incredible for words to describe. How will I ever find this level of talent ever again? Photo exchange underway. Too much. Don't want to leave. Love everyone too much. Missing them already. It will never be the same after this. Life. Art. The fucking world will never be the same.
My poor hurt fluffy white birds.
Say I do.
Our bed is huge.

August 6, 2003
Day Thirty Two

I don't want to leave. Tonight I got to know Walter, one of those bright beautiful actors that impressed me many times over the course of the program and of course we didnt get to really talk until it was all ending. Apparently he is my biggest fan and someday I will take headshots of him. There was opera last night which was funny because Ryan narrated the stagehands as they were moving the props and Betsey and I woke Rob up suddenly with our applause. I will miss all of this. We wrote our names on the door of the Closet of Death today and sang Hotel California to spite Matt. Oh god its Thursday and I can't fucking handle it.

August 8, 2003
Day Thirty Three

Last day. Oh man. Got more people to sign my book, walked to Dairy Queen, cleaned darkroom, skipped around campus, cried, embraced, wrote profound and cheesy messages, danced onstage with Walt, Terra, Joy, Jillian and others. Can't handle it. Don't want to leave. What will I do without these people in my life?

August 16, 2003

I have been home one week today. Not a day has passed without missing my govies terribly and I know that another day in my life will not go by when I don't think of one of them or all of them and wish to return to those magical days.

The last few days were as surreal as the first few. The moments have gotten all tangled up. Exchanging photos and messages, having everyone sign my book at the last minute, the last time I said 'Good Morning Rich!'

The storm broke and Joy and I joined the others dancing in the rain and witnessed some mud wrestling. We recovered our last popcorn circle outside the Laker and there was this massive group that included me and Robert as well as Joy, Ry, Becky, Walter, Betsey, Erica, Terra, Emma, Kelly, so many beautiful people. It was hard to miss saying goodbye to so many others. We traded life stories, bad relationships, and philosophy.

Eventually we were running around like crazy people in Laker, the last time I got to see Terra do the cat in heat and scare the shit out of people. Joe Pepper was playing Beatles songs and we all sang Hey Jude together as we embraced and cried. Walter sang to me, Leaving on a Jetplane and The Scientist and stopped to hug me everytime I cried.

That last night the coffeehouse was reigned over for the last time by my beautiful artists. Walter read a poem he wrote about me and our little circle during that one night. I got to be part of the poem physically as well by holding up a picture with Max and Luke and no one got it but we were just happy to be up there.
Christine and Emolly sang their amazing song Artists Don't Ice Skate which will forever be the anthem for that summer. They handed out lyrics and we all sang along at the end, clapping in time with the music.

There was the closing ceremonies where we lit our candles and Stacy read an amazing speech. The faculty and ATTRAs gave us a standing ovation and I was a puddle on the floor. Doug Woods read us a bit from Shakespeare as we all tried not to break down. Then as we blew the candles out there was a collective sob as everyone began to embrace. Matt came to his first candlelight vigil in five years to say goodbye to the photographers. Walter and I hugged dramatically every time we saw each other in the crowd.

Stayed up all night circulating through the dorm talking and hugging and crying and laughing through the tears. Escaped the dorm at dawn to watch the sunrise and lounge in the grotto one last time. When we got to breakfast we all said it was as if we had awoken from a bad dream that we knew would return shortly.

That last morning is a blur to me, the tears, the hugs goodbye we so long dreaded, the state of unbelieving delerium we were all in. The only thing I remember clearly was Robert coming up to me in that last moment before I had to depart and kissing me one last time, a kiss to say goodbye and something that told me that I was not done with this boy yet. He came to mean a lot to me in a very short span of time and there is something about govie love that always sticks with you. I love them all but in a way I loved him best.

I miss my govies, my family, my artists and kindred. I miss them more than words can say and always will. I miss the studios and the campus and everything about it. Nothing may ever compare to this experience, I know that I have been spoiled and it hurts that the memories are already beginning to fade. I never want to forget. They changed my life, they changed my art, they changed me for the better and I can see it now.

I am myself now. I can hold my head high and say that I am an artist without fear. No one can take what I have learned and experienced. Only I can make myself go further from this point.

PGSA 2003. Stamp in Blue. I may never take my wristband off.

I love you all.

Artists Don't Ice Skate
by Christine 'Frances' Quinlan and Emily/Molly Donovan

From the top of a ladder
dangles grave and unrivaled
boy looks up and says
"I'm confident she'll smile."

We look up as though we have the right
It's not what's said but whats in wishes
that keeps us up every night
every night.

So let's not ask "How late is it?"
Its really none of our damn business
just pretend that its still nine
running off to a kareoke bar
we'll get married in some punchline
and old jewish men will keep the time

And I'll meet you in the grotto
Spread the covers and we'll make
Peanut butter and jelly for each other.
Oh the barefoot vibrato
Brush off all the crumbs,
They don't make trees like this where I come from.

We could all live in the fountain
Dance to drums every night
Paint ourselves painting banannas
Writing lyrics and fake swordfights
Let's trade guitars
What's mine is ours
Couples as constant as the weather
Slobs of a feather plow together!

Your roommates walking, talking in her sleep
Bracelet labels we will always keep
Don't tease the ghosts, they'll steal your shoes

"Hey, try this ice cream, it's called Birthday Cake!"
"Dude, what the hell is that?"
"Just shut up and try it!"
"Hey, this is super awesome!"
"You're damn right it is!"

And I'll meet you in the grotto
Spread the covers and we'll make
Peanut butter and jelly for each other.
Oh the barefoot vibrato
Brush off all the crumbs,
They don't make trees like this where I come from.

And I'll meet you in the grotto
Spread the covers and we'll make
Peanut butter and jelly for each other.
Oh the barefoot vibrato
Brush off all the crumbs,
They don't make trees like this where I come from.

Sign my P-A-N-C-E - Pants
Salvo dresses for the dance
Visitors pausing the romance
Grateful that we got this chance

Here comes the sunrise
Lay down by my side
Soda and Pop
We'll get along fine
Sign my book!
Play kissing games -
Don't you dare forget my name!

Five weeks went by too effing fast
But dear god it was such a blast.

And I'll meet you in the grotto
Spread the covers and we'll make
Peanut butter and jelly for each other.
Oh the barefoot vibrato
Brush off all the crumbs,
They don't make trees like this where I come from.

And I'll meet you in the grotto
Spread the covers and we'll make
Peanut butter and jelly for each other.
Oh the barefoot vibrato
Brush off all the crumbs,
They don't make trees like this where I come from.

And I'll meet you in the grotto
Carpe Diem - Like the motto
'Till dark we'll search for El Dorado
I... I can't read or write you know.

It is very odd to re read this journal in full. To see what premonitions I had that came true, to see the connections I formed that became so much more afterward. Towards the end the journal starts become a bit personal but I think its the type of thing everyone out there can relate to. I thought I would post this here in case anyone wanted to read it, I mention a good deal of you so if you're interested, feel free to read on through. My thoughts and heart are with you all always.
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