The idea for this page is largely taken from Nadia Eghbal’s own Notes page. Rather than trying to flesh out an idea for an essay, most of which are just personal ruminations of no consequence, I’m posting half thoughts that will—more than likely—change as I learn more about the idea. These thoughts aren’t meant to be anything more than a snapshot in time, a first step.
Nov. 6, 2019
I was just at breakfast downstairs and went to get seconds. I packed up my messenger bag/purse (it’s a Baggalini and I kind of love it) before leaving my table. Afterward, I watched a couple get seconds, as well; they left all of their belongings at the table. I wonder if it’s an American thing to not trust strangers at a hotel? I don’t think I’d feel comfortable leaving my things unattended anywhere. Perhaps this is just who I am: I hope and wish for the best but prepare for all kinds of awful.
Nov. 4, 2019
On Friday night, I finished Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors. A lovely read on wilderness management, solitude, fire lookoutry, and the history of America, forestry, and the men that wanted wild and road-free lands. Some of Connor’s passages were spot on. I connected most deeply with his thoughts on solitude and his desire to be a man apart on a mountain, from this world but not of this world. I truly enjoy my time alone; there is an intimacy with the world when it is just one’s self and I haven’t been able to find a way to share that with another.
Being here alone I may not be my best self, in the social sense of the phrase, but I am perhaps my truest self. ~ Philip Connors
He writes of solipsism, which is the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. Anything outside of one’s own mind cannot be known for sure. I can’t know what other people think. My ex tried to teach me this but I was unable to hear and understand a decade ago. I like this word: solipsism. I like what it stands for. Ultimately, I am responsible only for my self. I cannot know what is in the heart or mind of others.
One sentence that I loved: “Tattered flgas of fog drift past the mountain when the rain breaks.” I see that in my mind. As a writer, I have a passion for sentences that evoke vivid imagery.
Oct. 23, 2019
Finished reading After the Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life That Came Next by Jana Hensel. Written in 2004, it’s now been another 15 years since it was written. I realized that it wasn’t really all that long ago that the Berlin Wall still stood. I understood this on a mathematical level but the book made it more concrete to me. The German title was Zonekinder, which translates to “children of the zone,” and was an instant best seller. Some thoughts that pop up in my head are how we Americans generally learn nothing about the world, how centric our view is.
Another thought is how there are things that can never be fixed. The zonekinders came of age straddling a socialist childhood and a capitalistic adulthood. How does one reconcile that? I think back to 2008 of those that graduated into the Great Recession here in the States, straddling the relative economic boom their parents had and their lack of well-paying jobs, loaded with school debt, living at home in their thirties. Some factors beyond our control alter and change our lives in ways that we can’t remediate. Both groups of people are forever changed by the world events that they had no say or power over.