I was engaged in a death match with my “to do” list, but true to its hydra like nature for every one item removed two more appeared seemingly more vicious than the first, and despite my Herculean efforts the battle raged on.
So I have abandoned this labor for the moment and hunt for inspiration where I know it always dwells.
I find enlightenment in the concise smudging and squiggling found on a page, markings that brought me comfort previous to learning to decipher what the alien forms were. I am the possessor of one of the worst memories in the world, it’s true, there is an art form to retaining information that I have yet to grasp, however one of my earliest memories is of words. Tales told to me by my mother, stories out of books and books and stacks of books. I loved them, loved them even before I had my own words. These stories from my mothers lips spurred me to read on my own at an early age and being the youngest of four children hand me down books had me reading at a level far beyond my years.
I will always love my parents for handing down this love of literature and imagination.
So in my time of need I reach out in darkness for inspiration and am engulfed.
I had these two men fall in my lap, Henry David Thoreau a longtime friend and fellow dreamer, and a new lover Paul Theroux passed serendipitously to me by my BFF Soy Pak.
There are times in ones life where all one needs to know is that they aren’t alone. The wheel doesn’t need to be re invented by my hands and I am not the only one with a dream.
I had finished The Elephante Suite by Paul Theroux via books on CD and was sliding in Thoreau’s Walden with the opening chapter Economy I found myself hooting and holloring, banging on the steering wheel yelling out “YES! YES! YES” the words of Thoreau so thoroughly resounding with my spirit. The wisdom of the past so clear to my present day predicament.
I know you Thoreau naysayers exist out there, you may even be reading my blog waiting to commit on his vices but I am well aware of some of his unsavory actions and am not moving to canonize him just simply to meditate on the beauty of his greatness. Such as:
“But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.”
A crack and a slap across my face, of knowledge tucked away and buried with the dirt of my enervated labors. A buried treasure if you will of my mind.
“Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance- which his growth requires- who has so often to use his knowledge? We should feed and clothe him gratuitously sometimes, and recruit him with our cordials, before we judge of him. The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.”
Thoreau, a reminder that there is a me in here buried under what I construe to be my duty.
I could go on quoting Thoreau all day, Walden is a book I’ve picked up hundreds of times and always have this reaction. So I will spare you and let you take the journey alone. You can read Walden in its entirety here.
With my new lover I am amazed that I hadn’t meet him sooner. Paul Theroux, a well penned travel writer with both fiction and non fiction exploits. I fell so hard for him I started reading 2 of his book simultaneously The Elephante Suite and Dark Star Safari. I was his for life cracking into the first chapter of Dark Star Safari his nonfiction piece traveling by land from Cairo to Cape Town. I found myself in his words, pieces of me that have always existed but longed for a name and for a kindred spirit.
So dear readers I leave you now with a few of my favorite Paul Theroux quotes, please to enjoy:
“The wish to disappear sends many travelers away. If you are thoroughly sick of being kept waiting at home or at work, travel is perfect: let other people wait for a change. Travel is a sort of revenge for having been put on hold, or having to leave messages on answering machines, not knowing your party’s extension, being kept waiting all your working life – the homebound writer’s irritants. But also being kept waiting is the human conditon.”
― Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown
“Going slowly […] was the best way of being reminded that there is a relationship between Here and There, and that travel narrative was the story of There and Back.”
― Paul Theroux
“All travel is circular. I had been jerked through Asia, making a parabola on one of the planet’s hemispheres. After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home. ”
― Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar
The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown..”
― Paul Theroux, The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road