In Search of A/The Point of Life

We go to bed and dream our recurrent dream of riding the Trans-Siberian, in loops. We wake up, in cold sweat, to (another) new year. Livid, we run a deliriouscatharticmadloop in a myopicdarkness at our favourite Regents Fark at 6am. We only begin to calm down with the words of Bruce Chatwin:

One afternoon in the early 70s, in Paris, I went to see the architect and designer Eileen Gray, who at the age of ninety-three thought nothing of a fourteen-hour working day. She lived in the rue Bonarparte, and in her salon hung a map of Patagonia, which she had painted in gouache.

‘Ive always wanted to go there,’ I said. ‘So have I,’ she added. ‘Go there for me.’ I went. I cabled Sunday Times: ‘Have Gone to Patagonia’. In my rucksack I took Mandelstam’s Journey to Armenia and Hemingway’s In Our Time. Six months later I came back with the bones of a book that, this time, did get published. While stringing its sentences together, I thought that telling stories was the only conceivable occupation for a superfluous person such as myself. I am older and a bit stiffer, and I am thinking of settling down. Eileen Gray’s map now hangs in my apartment. But the future is tentative.

Bruce Chatwin,  ‘I Always Wanted to go to Patagonia’, 1983, in Anatomy of Restlessness, Viking, 1996, p. 13.

Share

Reply