Sunday, March 4, 2012

Travels, Travails and Quintas

What happens when we travel? Apart from the obvious, the changing scenery around us, there can be engagement on a deeper level that can effect changes in our 'inner structure' as Albert Camus put it.

.....For what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure … robs us of refuge. [We are] Far from our own people, our own language, stripped of all our props, deprived of our masks [one doesn't know the fare on the trams, or anything else] …...... But [we] also restore to every being and every object its miraculous value. A woman dancing ….. a bottle on a table, glimpsed behind a curtain: each image becomes a symbol. The whole of life seems reflected in it.....

Albert Camus - L'Envers et l'endroit

Martha Gellhorn, the journalist, novelist and travel writer, sums up the sense of triumph at having overcome all hazards, including life-threatening ones -in her introduction to Travels with Myself and Another (the 'other' being her then husband, Ernest Hemingway) - Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival.

And Martin Buber has said that All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware

For a year I experimented with a different kind of writing. Taking the idea from a tanka journal, I wrote short, 5 line poems which I called quinta, as they are not strictly tanka. The idea was to write at least one a day. I selected some of these and put them into a collection, Gold Tracks, Fallen Fruit, which was launched first in Chester, at the end of 2011, and in Edinburgh on March 1st. I also included photographs, and the places I travelled to or visited during the year – from August 2010 to July 2011- include France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria and the USA. There are also some from Scotland, England and Wales.

You can read more about Gold Tracks and travels, on my blog Rivertrain and you can read some quinta here and here

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