Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Adrienne sent me an email yesterday about a book she's reading by Rebecca Solnit called A Field Guide to Getting Lost, and I thought it was the loveliest passage. Here I am twiddling my thumbs in Ithaca, sorting through stale boxes, and thinking about what is inside of them, thinking about what is here, what it means to be here and what part of here is part of me and what parts of here I will drag 3,500 miles accross the country to continue thinking about for next semester. And here is Rebecca Solnit saying exactly what I hope to in far less words and far more beautifully.

"When I first began to write, I had been a child for most of my life, and my childhood memories were vivid and potent, the forces that shaped me. Most of them have grown fainter with time, and whenever I write one down, I give it away: it ceases to have the shadowy life of memory and becomes fixed in letters; it ceases to be mine; it loses that mobile unreliability of the live, just as the blouse ceased to be something I recalled being inside and became the garment worn by that unrecognizable toddler in the snapshot when it was handed to me. A person in her twenties has been a child for most of her life, but as time goes by that portion that is childhood becomes smaller and smaller, more and more distant, more and more faded, though they say at the end of life the beginning returns with renewed vividness, as though you had sailed all the way around the world and were going back into the darkness from which you came."

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