Posts Tagged With: Timbuktu

Chaotic Thoughts, Enduring Friendships, Change, Unlocking The Shackles Of Home, Spies And The News, Or Happiness Found…

By Kiki Keane

My thoughts have been chaotic lately. I fly from one lame thought to another, never staying long enough to get comfortable, which is kind of how I live my life and is a core part of who I am. You could probably call me a quitter. I mean how many novels and stories have I left unfinished, movies half watched, books unread? How many colleges and universities did I attend and how many majors did I have? How many friends have I happily let drift away because to keep them was to much work? How many places have I left because to stay was to be shackled? Why shouldn’t my brain work the same way? That is a long-winded way of letting you know that the following post will be about whatever things my brain chooses to vomit. You have been warned.

I was talking to my oldest friend about a week ago. We have known each other for ten years, which is no small feat considering my commitment phobia and that my longest previous friendship lasted maybe two years. One reason our friendship has endured is because I feel no real pressure to keep it going. For example, I know that I could (though I wouldn’t want to) go for a year or more without speaking to her and it would be no big deal. And if we should see each other again we would treat each other the same. Time and distance is nothing, really. Anyway, we were talking about how much we’ve changed over the years. She has seen me turn from a shy, rainbow scarf wearing, romantic, heart-on-my-sleave idealist complete with rose-colored glasses and a penchant for falling into one unrequited “relationship” after another and into the somewhat jaded, snarky, emotionally unavailable, relatively assertive, decidedly unromantic, eye-rolling, soon to be adventurer that is before you. And she’s changed just as dramatically. So, I guess it’s change that I’ve been thinking about. Not just how we change or that we change, but how we don’t. I’m still an idealist, I just understand moral ambiguity and grayness and impossible choices now. I still want a grand romance, I just don’t need it. I’m still nice, but I’ll be damned if I let you dismiss me.

We also talked about our nomadic lives. Neither of us can stay in one place long without experiencing depression, anxiety and, at least for me, physical pain. We even experience a kind of claustrophobia on behalf of others who have never experienced the freedom and happiness that comes from leaving behind “the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many cares and the Slavery of Home” (Richard F. Burton). Don’t get me wrong. I envy those who are content in their lives, those who don’t feel shackled and enslaved by obligations, family, friends and their local physical boundaries. I envy those who have never wondered what it would be like to ride a camel through the Sahara, or never needed to touch the Pyramids for themselves, or experience first hand the wars we see on TV and all that comes with it, or require nothing more than a picture or a travelers words to experience the greater world, or those who do not need to know for themselves why the wonders of the world are so…wonderful. I like to pretend that a nomadic life style is one of true freedom, but the truth is that every nomad is slave to the wind. Whenever it blows we are compelled to follow it to wherever it may lead us.

On a different note, I have also been thinking great deal about spies. Why? Because they are fascinating people and because I could never be one. I prefer fictional spies though, especially the outlandish ones, like 007. Of course, 007 may have been based on a real person. Geoffrey Gorden-Creed claimed to be the inspiration for Ian Flemings, James Bond. If he is to believed, I would say that my previous statement was wrong, or at least not entirely informed, as Gorden-Creed was perhaps more fascinating than his fictional counterpart, certainly a less discriminating seducer (if what he said is true than he would make Casanova look chaste). Here is The Daily Mail‘s article on him. Here is Alan Furst’s @Google talk. Lastly, here is Jennet Conant’s C-Span talk/reading about Julia and Paul Childs time in the OSS.

And not to disappoint, here are some news stories I’ve been keeping an eye on.

1) Richard Engel just got back from a trip to Syria and shared what it’s like there at the moment and also some analysis of what Clinton’s criticism of Russia means if anything.

2) Some DRC news

3) Libyans vote

4) New commitment to Afghanistan 

5) I may have shared this and this before, but the destruction of historical sites really angers me. I especially have a fondness for Timbuktu and grieve for the destruction that it has suffered the last few weeks.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Elections, Journalism, Life, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Blog About Not Much, But It Is Still Totally Worth Reading If You Want To See Us Possibly Die By The End Of The Week…

By: Kiki Keane and Rachel Womek

Since we are terrible at finding things to write about, especially things pertaining to our *goal, we are going to set some personal goals for the week, which we will then blog about. We are doing this in an effort to establish some kind of accountability.

So, here are our goals:

Rachel: My goals for the week are to read an entire non-fiction work; lately I’ve been reading 1/2-3/4′s of books and never finish them. I will also read and entire fictional work, which I have never previously read. Also this week, I will not induce Kiki to murder me. Lastly, I will try not to scold people who don’t know what they are talking about.

Kiki: 1) I will finish (FINALLY!) Bernard Lewis’s book Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the MIddle East. 2) I will find and acquire the book The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power. 3) I will re-read Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy before I go see the film. 4) I have to finish my book club book, Nightwoods.

Collective: 1) We will study Arabic! 2) We will catch-up on news about Syria, Iran, etc. 3) Take some pictures and post them on our blog! 3) Find some history/current event books pertaining to our goal! 4) Will not spend money unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Rachel also wanted to mention that she went to see The Secret World of Arrietty today. She feels that the film was charming and timeless, something to be enjoyed by people of all ages. The borrowers were sweet and innocent folk, undeserving of the criticism that they have received by those who are biased against tiny humans. Kiki thinks they’re creepy…

FYI: Kiki blogged about Richard Engel’s new iPad series for Rock Center a few days back. The first episode on Timbuktu is now on the Rock Center website. Check it out! 

*Our goal is to leave Las Cruces in September for the Middle East and Africa. This is mostly Kiki’s crazy idea (she is going to attempt to be a Freelance Foreign Correspondent). Rachel is coming along for moral support and to do some photography/video. Please see our Bio for more info.

Categories: Adventure, Goals, Journalism, Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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