Wednesday, November 02, 2005

First Day

I did over 4,000 words on Day 1!!!

I was freaking out the night before about getting started but I thought I did pretty well.

I would have liked to have subbed today but got a lot done.

Here is an excerpt:

No Filter:
A Travelogue of Madness

A Novel by Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn
Written for National Novel Writing Month
November 2005

This novel is based partially on my life and partially is pure conjecture. It is set mainly in the very odd time of July/August 2001-October 2001. I was taking a class at Oxford from my business school leaving Claremont and New York in Mid July and planning to return to New York from Rome on October 5th.

This was the “grand tour” of Europe I had planned to do for quite some time. I was 27 just finishing my last MBA class and looking for one big trip before the world of responsibility, apartments, girlfriends and living life.

This month in Oxford shook me and I ended up going home in late August, 2001. I have often regretted this decision. My wanderlust is still there, as I think it will always be.

In September, I flew back to Claremont, to crash at the house I shared, before I left the lease in July. My first images of September 11th came at about 9:00 AM PST on a small black and white TV. Growing up in Montgomery Township, NJ about 45 miles away from the World Trade Center, I could see the World Trade Center on a clear day on the top of Sourland Mountain Rd. Although I did not see the planes crash live into the Twin Towers, I was struck by how surreal the moment was. Especially on the black and white TV it did not seem real. There have been so many disaster movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact or Independence Day, when landmarks had been blown up by forces of nature or aliens. It wasn’t until I went to a prayer service at Claremont Theological Seminary, across Foothill Blvd from where I lived that things started to become more real. Then I went to the student lounge at the seminary and saw the image in colour. After my weird month, at Oxford the whole experience threw me even more.

I dedicate this novel to the memories of those lost in a few minutes in 9-11, and all of those wounded by the event, whether they knew someone or just saw the images on TV. You cannot have a war on terror; any more you can have a war on poverty, drugs, or too much television. Let’s help people heal from such events, help those impoverished, help those hurt by the scourge of drugs, and hurt by terrorism and fear.

So let it be.

Word Count = 429
(might want to add more to this section)

Chapter the First
Imperial College, London, Saturday, August 11, 3:00 pm

How did I get here? What am I going to do now? I had these months all planned out; I would spend a month at the Oxford class at St. Thomas College with my colleagues at the Friedman School of Business in Janeville, California as well as the students from Thomas Paine University in Alexandria, Virginia. After the class ended, I was going to take a flight out to Edinburgh, Scotland in a week on the 26th on EasyJet and enjoy the Fringe Festival. Of course, I didn’t have reservations there but so it goes.

Instead though, a week before the final class in my coursework, I was told it was time to leave and sent out to Imperial College. Although, the location couldn’t be more central, near the Royal Albert Hall and just south of Hyde Park, in my current state I just couldn’t deal with it.

In a normal state, I would have taken the bus to London on Wednesday with my classmates, which I almost did, and gone to the London lectures that were part of the class. Instead after feeling hurt and lost from Tuesday’s misadventures in Birmingham, I couldn’t deal with the group when they left for London.

I regretted the move, and said I would take my own bus and catch-up. Instead I strangely threw away of pair of beat up shoes and walked around Oxford shoeless. Although, the walk was lovely, it was the walk of a little boy lost. I knew I was not feeling myself, I knew I made some bad choices, but I had no filter to block my thoughts, nor a filter to take the nasty thoughts and actions of others.

We need this filter to get through the oddities of this bizarre life we lead. This morning, I talked to the head of the Thomas Paine part of the Oxford class, Dietrich Huxtable and he manipulated me to leave. Instead of taking me to the headshrinking I so needed at this point, he told me to pack up in a few minutes and leave. This may have been the hardest and meanest thing ever done to me and I am still not recovered 4 years later.
Hi, my name is Timothy Thomas Higgins, and I am 27 year old near MBA, from the Princeton, NJ area who is currently houseless.

This seemed like a wise decision a month and a half ago when I left Janeville in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California, “the land of trees and Ph.Ds,” to embark on this 3-month adventure. I had always dreamed of going to Europe ever since I was a High School student. As a junior in High School at John Quincy Adams High School in Adamsburg, New Jersey I had been scheduled to be in an exchange program in Hattesburg, but my exchange partner cancelled at the last minute. I now have the plans to go explore Europe with a month and a half of time on my own.

Then why am I not excited. All I feel is dread, confusion, loss and pain. I just spent more money on Oxford crap and such then I have had any right too. This is the worst buying spell since that beanie baby insanity at the end of my studies at Rutgers. Why is it that I have such a hard time finishing with school??

I don’t think I am ready to leave the womb of graduate school. But here I am adrift in London without my independent study paper and the students I had liked and hated at my Oxford class many students but I had gotten to know them. I thought the powerpoints about the business we visited would be deathly dull, but they would have been interesting. Whoever though PowerPoints were a great way to give a presentation, deserves a good kick in the arse. If anything is more boring then looking at someone’s notecards on a computer screen I don’t know it.

Ok so I am here, I am in London. For most Americans, having sometime to wander around London would seem ideal. Catch a show in the West End, See Big Ben, Go to a bunch of museums; buy overpriced suits in Saville Row ….

I have always had a weird relationship with this city though. I first visited it in mid-January, 1998 after an enchanting week and a half in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. I had fun, got to see the sights, but after the excitement of Russia, London seemed like NY but with the prices in pounds, not dollars and the people less friendly … I have a theory that the farther you get from London the nicer people get in the UK. Even more specifically, Zone One-London on the tube, otherwise known as the international tourist zone.

November 1, 2005 -- 10:13 pm EST

The problem with writing a neo-memoir is there is both you and a fictional you. I might butt in at some points and say hi. This was a weird place for me … As they say in the song .. Should I stay or should I go…. At this point in our adventures, Mr. Higgins didn’t know which way he was going. He was just booted from Oxford just about finished with his MBA. He was told he would get a B in the class, which pissed him off because he had done A work, before the Birmingham incident (which we will get into later), he had written what he thought were some of the best writings of his life.

At this point, part of him wants to go back to Oxford and figure out what next, part wants to get some medications (he had taken bipolar medications, and anti-psychotics in the past), and part just wants to keep running. And there is part that is just devastated and needs to cry, which has already happened today.

There is also the question of this European adventure, does Mr. Higgins want to roll with the mania and travel around Europe and see what misadventures he wants to get into? Does he want to go back home to relative safety in Adamsburg? Does he want to go back to Claremont and do even more graduate school, and accumulate more debt??

Why do I ask so many questions?

The narrator of this story, which I guess is me, (this whole thing is a bit-meta) … Just saw another remembrance of the past while cleaning his messy room, full of half-read newspapers and magazines, that he can’t quite bear to throw away. A opened pack of Boots Lights Cigarettes from Mexico, picked up on a class at the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Tec de Monterrey) while he took a class in November, 2000 (5 years ago)… Your trusty narrator just had a smoke of 5 year old cigarette and it agreed with him well …. And it is much easier to justify smoking at $8 a carton then $60 now in Maine.

So I will now I have Mr. Higgins in a completely different part of the story.

Lets say for background, November 2000 in Monterrey, Mexico

November 14, 2000, Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico

This campus really impresses me. They manage to send their business knowledge throughout Mexico, Central America and South America in distance-learning… and ITESM (the b-school of Tec de Monterrey) is the most wired campus I have ever seen (including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, etc.).. There are laptops everywhere and docking stations even in the benches….

The Montana Mountains are pretty, the businesses doing well…. Mr. Higgins wonders whether he should get a 1-year degree here… He would have to improve his Spanish but it would give him an international dimension he does not have… Tom also thinks that the Friedman school should set up a joint major with Tec ….

He wonders about the Oxford program he decided not to take this last summer and decides he will definitely pursue it next year. It will be expensive, but will get him to Europe and travel and all of that. And if he graduates at the end of the summer, he can get full financial aid on that semester … Although, he will be missing Strategy by the great Mr. Singh, who the students like so much they are telecommunicating with his class at Tec ….

If this weekend in Mexico is so great and so much fun, how great will Oxford be with all of its history, and the chance to “network” (man I hate that word) with all of the Wharton School types….
And so now readers if you aren’t lost enough lets go back to the future-past to Mr. Higgins’ arrival in fair London….

No comments: