While Jack Kerouac was my biggest inspiration for travel writing, my most memorable evocative writing quotes are by Paul Theroux. I read the Old Patagonian Express while solo travelling in South America in 1994, so it was particularly poignant. It didn’t inspire me to go to Patagonia; I only went to the near-side of Foz do Iguazu in Argentina, with landscape views on the Brazilian side.
Paul Theroux Express quotes such as these were what I aspired to in my deep thought philosophical writing; like travelling, I think I was searching for that place in my mind all my writing life, and reached it during XaW Files:
“A slow feeling of gathering sadness as each familiar place flashes by the window and disappears and becomes part of the past. Time is made visible, and it moves as the landscape moves.”
“And yet on that bench at Jacobacci, I was glad I had left everyone else behind. Although this was a town with a main street and a railway station, and people with dogs and electric lights it was near enough to the end of the earth to give me the impression that I was a solitary explorer in a strange land. That illusion (which was an illusion in the South Pole and at the headwaters of the Nile) was enough of a satisfaction to me to make me want to go forward.”
My Writing Analogies
Maybe Theroux’s influence was strong in my mind when I wrote my Daily Commute Route station-waiting writing analogy. I thought I’d included it in XaW Files, but just realised I wrote it afterwards:
Daily Commute Route
Writing is like waiting for a train
at a station you’ve visited before
one with many platforms
and a timetable
but the trains
don’t always run to time
or from the planned platform
and sometimes don’t go
where you originally wanted
but you enjoy the ride
wherever it takes you
knowing the journey
is more important
than the destination
and that it is vital
to try and absorb
learn and remember
what you experienced.
I’m so generous with my writing; or remembering the greenYgrey philosophy: foolish, or too eager to impress!; that I was going to provide more examples of my analogies, but will save them for another day, as I think that is more than sufficient to be going on with…
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