“I never was lost in the woods in my whole life,” said Daniel Boone, “though once I was confused for three days.” (pg. 13)
Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, and where you will go.” (pg. 4)
The word “lost” comes from the Old Norse los, meaning the disbanding of an army, and this origin suggests soldiers falling out of formation to go home, a truce with the wide world. (pg. 7)
Last week, I read Knut Hamsun’s The Wanderer, which coincidentally or not is a story of a man losing himself.
The Wanderer has left behind wealth and comfort in order to wander from estate to estate seeking seasonal work and rough shelter. His claim that he left cultured city life in search of peace and quiet is sincere, but not exactly reflective of reality. In practice, he seeks out the company of others and becomes invested from a distance in the dramas surrounding the Masters and Madames on whose lands he toils.
It seems that he is lost, not physically, but in the cares and worlds of others. In a sense, he is like a reader who never writes, living lost in other people whose actions and feelings he cannot impress. Oh, but what effect they have on him! His preoccupation with the lives of others would make him seem dull, if it were not true that reading is an art itself–an art whose very process entails getting lost. The getting lost that Solnit is after when she posits that, “Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.”
From this a lesson or two. #1. read a lot. #2 don’t be afraid from time to time to get lost in other people’s lives b/c they too are overgrown woods whose only paths are the forays we make into them. #3 Get lost!
MORE NOTES AS BOOK IS FURTHER READ.