Notes on Travel & Place
“Either you leave immediately or you stay for a year. Anything in between produces a bad piece of writing.” — Cees Nooteboom
“If existence was immobile it would return to its source, which is the void. That is why voyaging never stops, in this world or the hereafter.” — Ibn al-Arabi
“The truth is, fiction depends for its life on place,” wrote Eudora Welty, “Location is the proving ground of ‘what happened? who’s here? who’s coming?’ — that is the heart’s field.”
The great contemporary setter of place, Lawrence Osborne, says in an interview: “To me, place creates character, not the other way around. So the setting — the place — twists and reshapes the characters into a certain form. . . that I suppose is the whole point of the story. In the Sahara, you are not the person you were in South Kensington.”
The old French verb ‘trover’ does not only mean ‘to find,’ but also ‘to compose.’ Adventure is at once an encounter with the world and oneself. — from Giorgio Agamben’s The Adventure
Baudelaire’s ‘bitter knowledge’ that we discover while traveling — gaining awareness of the both false assumptions we brought with us, and also of the tedium and monotony of our everyday at home.
Traveling as semiology - the gestures, the expressions that signal openings and the closed signs of the turned eyes. Travel as a form of reading.
The verb agambes: the tortuous movement of going around in circles which Virgil uses in the Aeneid in reference to Daedalus’s labyrinth. Yet Danté, after traveling 5,000 miles to within sight of Purgatory, says it is here where we will finally gain “virtue and knowledge.”