The Writer as Migrant

I love Ha Jin’s Waiting. Poignant realism tugging at every heart string of my challenged existence. I am still musing on travel, writing and reflection and turn to The Writer as Migrant by Ha Jin.

In The Writer as Migrant, he wonders about the Ithaka’s we search for .. real and metaphysical .. “some Ithakas turn out to be different from what we expected, but we have wonderful journeys that enrich and enlighten us .. As we travel along, we should imagine how to rearrange the landscapes of our envisioned homelands.”

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Today’s pictures are brought to you by my companions and me on a track north of Broome, at a view in Petra, on a path on the SW English coastline, and in an alley in Damascus.

It’s cold … need hat!

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Where to go for a hat? The first place I think of is a market stall run by local women, high on a beautiful winding road between Cusco and Ollantaytambo, Peru. This road to Macchu Picchu has wonderful memories.

Do I need a room with a view? This place, this view reminds my heart that I need no walls, no boundaries, no windows, no borders.

My hat? Maybe, you’d like to go for me? We all need the wider view.

LOL Michel Foucalt or/ how knowledge can often get in the way

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The following is Foucault’s explanation of the impetus behind his The Order of Things. I offer it as a reminder that categorisation, like the search for definitions, theories or explanations, is a nuanced art.

“The book first rose out of a passage in Bores, out of the laughter, that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought – our thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography – breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other.

This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine candle hair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like ‘flies’.

In the wonderment of this taxonomy, the thing we apprehend in one great leap, the thing that, by means of the fable, is demonstrated in the exotic charm of another system of thought, is the limitation of our own …”

We assume taxonomies and typologies create spaces for everything once and once only. Dewey and Linneaus take note. Foucault understands the quandary and John Shotter writes that “as adults n the western world, what we ignore, even in the study of ourselves, is the coming into being of things. We tend to think in terms of finished things, like solid objects. we are not well versed in methods of thinking about unfinished things, things still open to yet further development, fluid things.”  

My ontological interests lie here, because the map, as they say, is not the territory. Being, becoming, emergence are the edges of knowing and unknowing. The world of en=mergence loves the present participle.

Today’s ‘animal’ photos offer giraffe spotting in Nairobi, Kenya (and yes, some so far off they looked like flies); the craze for cute animal onesies; our dear departed Golden Retriever, Angel; puppy taking a break from antique selling, Le Marais, Paris; geese conversing, NSW paddock;  superb art inMusee du Louvre and up close and personal in Petra, Jordan.

Campfire flackering

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A shout out (or gentle nod) to Nikki Gemmell, journalist, author, creator of wise, engaging musings. Recently she wrote about lingering lingo, words and phrases about nature, and our relationship within it, ‘a catalogue of lost or singular words for the Australian bush.’

I loved flackering: staring, wordless, at a campfire at night and fires in grates do just as nicely on my own, with friends, making friends. The easy silences, occasional smile, the jaunty poke with a stick at falling ashes and tumbling logs.

I have happily flackered in many places across the globe. These photos were taken in Dorset many moons ago, and I can still experience the warmth on my face, the joy in my heart and the cool at my back.

NB. Flackering is not to be confused with ‘fracking’, a far more dangerous pursuit, or rather assault upon our nature.

My quest – meandering in the ways of being and knowing

 

A few years ago .. ok, maybe a good number  .. I began exploring ontology (ways of being) and epistemology (ways of knowing). I loved playing with the ideas, getting confused, mixing them up, turning them around in my mind, diving into their meaning.

I thought journeying into the worlds of ontology and epistemology were the means, the foundation and background to my postgraduate research. However (and thankfully so) I came to realise that my research ‘project’ was not a construction, a product beckoning on the horizon, a major engineering feat as it were. My research project could be the transformative nature of the journey itself.  I was my project. A journeying of being. And that journeying became story.

I called the bluff of ontology. I asked questions about the learning process – is transformation a series of lights beckoning, a progression of events, light bulbs flashing on and off?

And that’s when I fell in love with Emily Bronte and her poem below written before 1848. Emily, if we had met on your mountainside, I would yell in the wild wind ‘go girl!’

Often rebuked, yet always back returning / To those first feelings that were born with me.

And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning /For idle dreams of things which cannot be.

Today I will seek not the shadowy region / Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear

And visions rising, legion after legion / Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I’ll walk, but not in old heroic traces / And not in paths of high morality,

And not among the half-distnguishd faces / The clouded forms of long past history.

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading / It vexes me to choose another guide –

Where the grey flocks in ferny glen are feeding / Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

What have those lonely mountains worth revealing? / More glory and more grief than I can tell.

The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling / Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.

Autumn musings

remembering how much I love Schumacher College

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window seats / plumped pillows holding learning limbs / rain at tall windows listening in

I am but a shadow on the cedar floor / lit by pools of knowledge

our thoughts winnowed by stories of violence and hope

our faces know our lives produce poverty

our hearts desiring the revolution to be handmade

thoughts are unpicked / some truth unravels