The moment I stumbled upon this line from Emily Dickinson I went into deep thought about how we lose ourselves bit by bit everyday, and how we should go about finding our true selves, with or without lanterns. I liked the line so much I dug up the original letter where as it turns out she is jokingly complaining to her friend about moving and how much she hates it. You and me both, Emily. At least you didn’t have to deal with EverSource and Xfinity.
I cannot tell you how we moved. I had rather not remember. I believe my “effects” were brought in a bandbox, and the “deathless me,” on foot, not many moments after. I took at the time a memorandum of my several senses, and also of my hat and coat, and my best shoes–but it was lost in the mêlée, and I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.
Such wits as I reserved, are so badly shattered that repair is useless–and still I can’t help laughing at my own catastrophe. I supposed we were going to make a “transit,” as heavenly bodies did–but we came budget by budget, as our fellows do, till we fulfilled the pantomime contained in the word “moved.” It is a kind of gone-to-Kansas feeling as if sat in a long wagon, with my family tied behind, I should suppose without doubt as a party of emigrants!
They say that “home is where the heart is.” I think it is where the house, and the adjacent buildings.
The last book I read was Jhumpa Lahiri’s Whereabouts and now I am about to jump into Emma Straub’s This Time Tomorrow, which is about time travel and how the smallest of decisions often make the biggest impact in our lives. Currently I am reading this ridiculously funny account of the American Revolution – King George: What Was His Problem? New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Honor recipient Steve Sheinkin strikes the perfect balance between facts and fun but I gotta tell you this, the British doesn’t come off as very smart in his account. The best part? My ten year old is also reading it.
As for Lahiri, this is my favorite part of her book and I have a feeling I will be thinking about it every time I enter a pool – “In the pool I lose myself. My thoughts merge and flow. Everything—my body, my heart, the universe—seems tolerable when I’m protected by water and nothing touches me. All I think about is the effort. Below my body there’s a restless play of dark and light projected onto the bottom of the pool, that drifts away like smoke.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, Whereabouts
Apart from chronicling some (not all) of our travels, I write to preserve thoughts and ideas that seem worth it. The travels, well, they serve for moments when the kids are like “Ooh, remember the time we went there?” and I am like “Yes, and look what I wrote about it.” The rest is me trying to hold on to things I find interesting, amusing, uplifting, and often inspiring.
“I’m a writer, and everything I write is both a confession and a struggle to understand things about myself and this world in which I live. This is what everyone’s work should be…whether you dance or paint or sing. It is a confession, a baring of your soul, your faults, those things you simply cannot or will not understand or accept. You stumble forward, confused, and you share. If you’re lucky, you learn something.”
– Arthur Miller
I hope I learn something.