This was a great day. We rented a car this morning and drove out to West Calder (about 30 minutes outside of Edinburgh). It’s like another world. It’s amazing to me to be somewhere besides the city. We went clay pigeon shooting (by the way, the clay targets are not shaped like pigeons, in case you were wondering. I was sure they would be, but there are not), which was in and of itself a) an incredible adventure, and b) a philosophical uncovering about the nature of shooting, sport, and violence (as three separate ideas). I had the time of my life.
Not to mention it was stunningly beautiful:
When we got home, I said to Andrew: “This has been the best day of my life, and it’s not even over yet.”
He said, “It’s not even the afternoon.”
But now, tonight, things assemble, take themselves apart, and reassemble. I mean that in the best way. My head is spinning. A long chat with Sarah M., which grew into maps beyond its own scope. This is why we all talk to those people who understand us, why you and I write letters: to reach those places of understanding about ourselves during the act of speaking. The instant epiphanies, almost before the words can physically escape our lips.
Sarah showed me a book by Bruno Latour that exists entirely on the internet. If you open it and find that you can’t read the words at the bottom, make sure to click on them and they will be brought up. I wrote some notes while Sarah was talking, so part of this is her description and a little of my reaction:
Ethnography of the Paris subway system. Doing research in his own town. Redefining how we think about space and how we think about space being created. It’s not just a scene, a vignette, a freeze-frame, a still image. What defines space and place is that they’re never frozen, always in motion. Take frozen moments that people normally isolate and think of them connected together like lines in a metro. This forward-moving force.
A map is a dance of limits.
Whoosh. The sound of my brain expanding, areas lighting up that have been dark and closed for years. This is the part of me that loves the labyrinth, the blind stumble and exploration into the brain’s intertwining crevices, the map of thought and sight and knowledge and idea and insight and questioning. Immediately, I thought of five more books, down this philosophical rabbit hole: Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, which is just something I wish every person would read every day. It should be my bible. “The Map” by Elizabeth Bishop, which I wanted to include here but then fell into a cycle of clicking through all of her poems, realizing I haven’t read nearly enough of her stuff, and then find that I can’t commentate on any of it. In Search of the Essence of Place by Petr Kral which I am in the middle of reading and really want to send to you when I am finished. The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard. The Architecture of Happiness by Alain Botton which I have never read, but which appeared in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s movie “500 Days of Summer” which I watched recently:
A terraced house on a tree-lined street… Within shafts of sunlight, platelets of dust move as if in obedience to the rhythms of a silent waltz.
The house give signs of enjoying its emptiness. It is rearranging itself after the night, clearing its pipes and cracking its joints.
The house has grown into a knowledgable witness.
– The Architecture of Happiness by Alain Botton.
This reminds me of the essay “Building Dwelling Thinking” by Heidegger. Good lord, talk about a labyrinth. That man talks circles around and on top of himself. And yet, I adore him.
Jesus, I think, there is so much here. How can I ever get through it all? There is so much. In every day. And any day in which there isn’t this much is either restful recovery, or is wasted.