Born on this day in Yorkshire, in 1816, the third of six children. After their mother and two sisters died, the young Bronte’s were educated at home. They developed a rich fantasy life amongst themselves, constructing together the imaginary world of Glass Town and writing of it in dozens of microscopically printed ‘books’. Charlotte and her brother Branwell invented their shared kingdom of Angria in 1834. In 1846, at Charlotte’s instigation, the Bronte sisters published Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.
Charlotte’s first novel, The Professor, was rejected by several publishers and not published until 1857. Jane Eyre appeared, and was an instant success, in 1847. Then… Branwell Bronte died in September 1848, Emily in December of the same year, and Anne in May 1849. Charlotte, the onluy survivor of 6 siblings, continued to live at Haworth Parsonage with her fater. Shirley was published in 1849 and Villette in 1853, both pseudonymously. In 1854 Charlotte married her father’s curate. She soon died on March 31, 1855.
I thought this was fitting for today’s social distancing restrictions. I know we’re used to the daily grind🏃♂️, but honestly, I have come to appreciate being home more often. I have spent more time with the family, with myself, and I am enjoying the home I recently purchased more than ever. Even with Spring blooming around us, I’m still happy to be home. Fortunately, I am still employed; and still, work is the only task preventing me from being 🏚️ even more.
SURREALISM, n. Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express—verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner—the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.
Happy 71st Birthday to one helluva creative writer, Haruki Murakami. Haruki is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside of Japan.
“Today when I awoke from a nap the faceless man was there with me. He was seated on the chair across from the sofa I’d been sleeping on, staring straight at me with a pair of imaginary eyes in a face that wasn’t.” – Excerpt from his latest #novel, ‘Killing Commendatore” A tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art. Killing Commendatore is a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.
As we prepare for limited travel and mobility restrictions, know that Thoreau understood something that many of us modern day nomads would do well to recognize: travel is a matter of perspective, not location.
“I have traveled a great deal in Concord,” said Henry Thoreau, a native of…wait for it…Concord, Massachusetts.
In fact, Thoreau traveled far and wide for his day and age, vagabonding to Cape Cod and the vast wilderness of the Maine Woods. However, the great prophet of enlightened self-reliance claimed to have done most of his traveling in his own hometown.
Thoreau understood something that many of us modern day nomads would do well to recognize: travel is a matter of perspective, not location. With curiosity, an open mind and a broad horizon of free time, it’s possible to travel in your own backyard.
I’m writing in El Calafate, a tourist boomtown in Argentine Patagonia. I am, admittedly, a long way from home. But, just the same, at the moment I’m not really traveling.
With curiosity, an open mind and a broad horizon of free time, it’s possible to travel in your own backyard.
Neither, sadly, are many of my fellow tourists here in El Calafate. Every hour, buses segregated by wealth and nationality pull up to the viewpoint overlooking the Perito Moreno glacier.
Tourists disembark – they Ooh and Ahh in their respective languages, snap a few trophy photos, nap in the bus back to the hotel and fly thousands of miles back home on airplanes that belch carbon into the sky.
Meanwhile, the famous glacier shrinks, but that’s OK – I already have my ice-climbing photo.
What Makes A Traveler?
Now, the tourist / traveler distinction has already been beaten into the ground, and I’m not so sure of its validity in the first place. But it IS clear that coming all the way to Patagonia does not make one a traveler.
How did Thoreau manage to travel in Concord when so many of my fellow tourists never leave their comfort zones?
So what DOES make a traveler, I wonder? How did Thoreau manage to travel in Concord when so many of my fellow tourists here in El Calafate never leave their comfort zones?
Well, Thoreau rambled. He walked the country roads and stopped to talk to anyone he met along the way. He followed fox tracks through the snow, and wondered at their meaning. He approached the fields and homesteads of Concord with an open-ended sense of curiosity.
He looked at things, and thought about them, and tried his best to place them within the context of his broad experience. He moved slowly, and he paid attention.
Into The Hills
I remember one time, back when I worked an office job.
It was a Tuesday, and after work I just couldn’t take it any longer: with nothing but the clothes on my back I set off into the hills behind my house, trekked across the coal fields and into the valley beyond. The sun started to go down, but I just kept walking.
I came upon a small stream, which I resolved to follow until it led back to civilization. The night was dark, and there was no moon. I traveled by feel, my mind wide open, my nerves on edge. Once, I stepped on a sleeping turtle – and believe me, that was a shot of adrenaline on par with a virgin view of the Mayan Temples, the Egyptian Pyramids and even Angkor Wat.
The next day at work I couldn’t stop grinning. I had gone on a TRIP. Beyond that, I now knew what was Out There, over the hills, and by understanding what was Out There, I had a better appreciation for home and work – the comfortable routines to which I was able to return.Four times I came to dams, and had to scramble around them through thick bamboo grass. When I finally emerged into a village, covered in mud and cobwebs, it was past midnight.
My carbon footprint for the journey? Zero.
A Sense Of Wonder
The truth is, we travel every time we open our minds to a new possibility, every time we open our hearts to a new emotion, every time we take a new track, read a new book or just look at a rock and wonder how it got there.
There is comfort in routine and stability, but when we stop traveling we lose the sense of wonder that equates to joy, that carves new channels in our minds and makes us feel alive. So go. Go on. Go.
Take a notebook and a pen and a camera – see what you find. Then come back, and tell me the story.
BNT contributing editor Tim Patterson travels with a sleeping bag and pup tent strapped to the back of his folding bicycle. His articles and travel guides have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Get Lost Magazine, Tales Of Asia and Traverse Magazine. Check out his personal site Rucksack Wanderer.
Think you can write over 1,400 works of #drama in your lifetime? This guy Lope De Vega managed to during the 1,500’s. Born #OTD in 1562 he was an outstanding dramatist of the Spanish Golden Age, author of as many as 1,800 plays and several hundred shorter dramatic pieces, of which 431 plays and 50 shorter pieces are extant.
Vega became identified as a playwright with the comedia, a comprehensive term for the new drama of Spain’s Golden Age. Vega’s productivity for the stage, however exaggerated by report, remains phenomenal. He claimed to have written an average of 20 sheets a day throughout his life and left untouched scarcely a vein of writing then current. Cervantes called him “the prodigy of nature.”