Friday, July 06, 2007

Leisure, writing and Disobedience

Replica of Thoreau's cabin
Having arrived back with a rant, I thought I would offer this in tranquility. On the right of the page you can see a link to Thoreau's Blog - an online project I really liked, as the guy had arranged to publish Thoreau's notebooks and diaries(including from his famous 'retreat' 1845-7) on a daily basis. Now the cycle has completed, he does not routinely update, so I'll just give you the sample for this date, back in 1840.

Thoreau's Journal: 06-Jul-1840
Have no mean hours, but be grateful for every hour, and accept what it brings. The reality will make any sincere record respectable. No day will have been wholly misspent, if one sincere, thoughtful page has been written.

Let the daily tide leave some deposit on these pages, as it leaves sand and shells on the shore. So much increase of terra firma. This may be a calendar of the ebbs and flows of the soul; and on these sheets as a beach, the waves may cast up pearls and seaweed.

I discovered Thoreau in my late teens, and hold him partly responsible for dropping-out, opting for a simple life, etc. Not just mystical nature retreats, either. You could try reading his 'Civil Disobedience' text which also influenced me.


The Purple Gooroo said...

I really liked reading Thoreau as well--and I did get a bit of the "drop-out" bug from him...but seeming to be too ingrained in suburbia, found I was too chicken-shit to drop-out altogether.

I did uproot to another country, though - so I suppose that counts for something ;-)

Toby said...

Oh I don't know about that!

Do you know how few people actually move away from their own country and culture?

Not that many, willingly...

I think it opens a few reality tunnels that many others may never glimpse. I never got to stay away, but I spent rather longer than a holiday in a couple of places.

I don't suppose moving from London (England) to Cardiff (Wales) counts much... :-)

The Purple Gooroo said...

Yeah - I suppose you've got a point and my reality-tunnel has definitely been opened by living in Britain.

I guess it helped that I've been a bit of an Anglophile since my teenage years--but I didn't realise how *much* I didn't know when I arrived here a few years ago. I still experienced some culture shock (though it's lessened now I've been here awhile)--still, I'm very glad I took the opportunity.

I'd say moving from London to Cardiff counts for something - they seem to me to be two very different cities. I found that even when attending college in Boston. Coming from a town in Connecticut--it was my first experience living in a proper city. Quite an I-opening experience.

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