I hardly ever take photos while traveling. When I do, they are often like these: captured on the way some place, capturing the moment when you don’t know what’s around the bend.
Life and writing are like that just now. The picture on the left is from the Cotton Famine Road, it crosses a moor outside the Manchester suburb of Oldham, England, leading nowhere in particular. The second picture is through a sugarcane field outside Leogane, Haiti, a small town at the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, where I recently spent time learning Kreyol. These are some paths I’ve walked lately.
I adore the writer Hélène Cixous; she has this to say on the matter:
From path to path, I also want to work on journeys. Any journey is a metaphor of all journeys at all times. Our tourist era continuously sets out on journeys. Each time, if we worked on the journey we are undertaking, we would find in it thousands of different journeys. It is always a flight of some kind, a flight toward another life. It is another life, a death, an oblivion, a recalling, and a search. We know that when we change countries we also change hearts….A journey may be one of affinity. We go to the countries we carry deep down in our hearts. Often we arrive at ourselves far from ourselves. Inversely, we can travel away from ourselves….
And this, which held me up while writing Harlem Is Nowhere….
If you follow me perhaps you will lose yourself, but if you do, you are following me. To find one has to lose, one finds only by losing…To find is also to lose the self. While advancing, I am playing to find while losing. A thousand poets promise that if we lose ourselves — and we must — there always remains the path. That’s what Heidegger told us in his Holzwege, his paths that lead nowhere. We have to let the path work.
(both from “Poetry, Passion and History: Marina Tsvetayeva”)
It will be quiet around here while I let some paths work. No public events (until the HARLEM paperback launch, that is, in late January 2013); and no published writing about a place and a project I’m only beginning to know. In the meantime, many winding roads.