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LONDON ISSUE NO 1 | VOLUME 1

VOY AGE JULY 8 - AUGUST 8 2019 BY: KELSEY KAY HERRING


ON ARRIVING

EGAYOV • 4 EGAP

Welcome:‘wel-kem’ Transitive Verb To greet hospitably and with courtesy or cordiality Home:‘hōm’ Noun One’s place of residence The social unit formed by a family living together A familiar or usual setting; a congenial environment A place of origin


A Letter to London: Part I Conway Hall; Apartment 202

London, You are so ugly. You are a glowing, red end of a freshly-lit cigarette. The greasy air is hard to breathe, and the windy roads are harder to navigate. Your buildings obscure the sky, and I am tired of standing beneath them, feeling small. Is small how you want me to feel? Am I just another miniature dot in the swarms of people that attempt to understand you? Just another tourist. Just another lost soul. Just another foreigner, another vagrant, another blip on the map. I suppose I understand. You see too many souls to really care about each of them individually. The draw of forgetting is too strong, too alluring. I mean nothing to you. Just as quick as I came, I will be quick to leave. I understand. I should have expected this.            I want you to know I don’t blame you. You are ugly because of me, or people like me. You have become weary of trespassers in your mind, in your heart, in the innerworkings of your soul that even the intricacy of the tube map can’t summarize. You are tired of being invaded, being bombed. You are afraid of the pick pocketers because they will steal your value in silence and disappear without fanfare. I understand. I am weary and afraid, too. I suppose that makes us kindred spirits. We are both breathing kingdoms of man fighting against the sky. We both watch our purses in fear. We both detest transience, and all that comes with it – pollution, abandonment, chaos. Yet, we still stand. We still stand in the face of all that we fear. Or, more accurately, we stand with two feet planted squarely in the fear.              Perhaps, one day, our similarities will prevail over our differences. Perhaps, one day, you will cease to be one of my fears, and I will cease to be yours. What a glorious day it will be.                                                                                                            

Briefly yours, Kelsey Kay


A (Love) Letter to London: Part II Conway Hall; Apartment 202

London, You are the opposite of ugly. I don’t mean you are pretty or even beautiful. You are something more than words that describe external value. You are a gasping city, a rushing city, but there is nothing grotesque about the way you breathe. I am learning to breathe with you. While I still hold my breath when I walk through clouds of secondhand smoke, the beat of your pulse is no longer foreign to me. My steps harmonize with it. My schedule oscillates with the current. I understand now why you are the subject of so many people’s dreams, why you are the setting of so many movies. It is not because you are beautiful; it is because you are real. I know “real” does not compensate for the cracks in your sidewalks, the unsmiling commuters, the polluted sky, the sweaty crowds. I know that sounds like a cop-out. But it is the highest compliment I could give you. You are authentic and unapologetic. You are one of the only cities left like this. While I am just a tourist, even I can see this. It is painted across you like a banner, clear as day. You have taught me many things. How to walk on a sidewalk with caution. How to ask questions. How to remain silent. How to embrace bustle, but cease to be frantic. You have shown me how life is better with support. How bravery still exists in small ways: getting out of bed when you are tired, reaching out to someone next to you when you are afraid of rejection, being vulnerable with a group of new friends. You have shown me it is worth it. You have shown me how being both authentic and unapologetic is one of the biggest blessings in life. I can’t say I miss you. You are not home. I can say I miss the lessons I learned, the people I met and learned to love. I can say that you are special. Thanks for the month. Yours, Kelsey Kay


Beneath and Within A Vignette on Living and Loving

The city and love are similar in two ways. One, when you stand beneath or within them, you swell. Both love, real love, and city, real living, exalt, honor, and dignify you. They make you feel as if you matter – as if there is some iota of you, no matter how small, that is important and valuable. Two, when you stand beneath or within them, you shrink. Both love, real love, and city, real living, expose, challenge, and humble you. They remind you of your weaknesses and your fears. They expose your desires and force you to own them. As I stand beneath this dome, I am reminded of this truth. Honor and humility can coexist. The world constantly reminds me of this. If I desire to embrace loving and living, I must be prepared for both.


HOLY ISLAND LINDISFARNE

A PRAYER


prayer [prair] Lord, I do not know what you have planned for me here. I am afraid, and shamefully, doubtful. You have designed me to love home with zeal. In some ways, I worship its stability, its comfort, its warmth. Here, I am not stable. Everyday looks different. Here, I am not comfortable. I am surrounded by burgeoning friendships, and I fear they will dismiss me. Here, it is cooler. I do not mean the weather. I mean the icy interactions and the novelty of this city. Was your plan simply to strip me of home and watch me struggle? My fear is masked with anger, and my doubt is throttling me. Kneeling here before you, I know I must trust you. I trust that you are redefining what “home� means to me. You are asking me to rest in you and in the present. I will try. Perhaps you are trying to show me how you are still present in the wild, in the un-home, in the new. You are still present here, even though it looks different from Nashville. Perhaps you are convicting me of my idolatry. I am beginning to rely more on my own comfort and stability than I am on you. I see now. Home is not safety; you are. Remind me of this as I travel. Lord, be with me as I travel. As always, I am in need. Not of home, but of you. Amen.


"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


PO EM ITIRE OF THE TOLERANT, THE TRANQUIL, THE PLACID. ITAKE TO THE SKIES TO UNEARTH MORE MOVEMENT AND SWAY, TO FOLLOW THE TENDONS AND TISSUES UNTIL THEY TELL ME THE TRUTH. LET ME BE CLEAR: I AM AFRAID OF FALLING, FALLING INTO THE TORRID SALIVA OF INDIFFERENCE. WHAT IS A HAND IF NOT TO HOLD? IF NOT TO HOLD, TO STRAIN? TO TOUCH, TO TRY? WHAT IS A LEG BUT TO KICK? TO RUN? TO COLLAPSE? THESE VITAL NERVES ARE NOT TO BE LEARNED, NOR LOST. THEY ARE NOT EVEN TO BE BOUGHT. THEY ARE THE ONLY THINGS WHICH MAKE US ART.

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On the Hillside

I still have my childhood nightmare. It started when I had just turned six, and I woke up in a cold sweat. In my dream, my house is empty. I check my parents’ bed – no parents. As my heart picks up speed, I check my siblings’ rooms, call for my dogs, look for lights in my neighbors’ houses – all empty. This is when the taste of metal and salt seeps in from the back of my throat. The panic is no longer stalking me; it is me. I am running through empty neighborhoods, jumping from continent to continent, screaming for someone to answer me. I didn’t care who it was who answered me. This lasts for about a week. Then, the truth is simply there. I am alone. I must accept that I am alone or face the consequences. I find a hillside, spotted with flowers. Somewhere in Germany, or England, or perhaps, finally, back home. I lay down slowly. Lean my head back. Close my eyes. And wake up.


"Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens." - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Profile for Kelsey Kay Herring

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