August 14, 2015

Friday Photos: Pico Iyer

Several years ago, a friend gave me a present of The Best Travel Writing 2011, with an Introduction by Pico Iyer, an author new to me. His writing struck a chord, resonant in  subject matter, written in a thoughtful, clear, considered, well-crafted manner.

I love used books. More specifically, books that have been read before, and well-cared for. Occasionally I have found entire collections of books I want to read, I think I need to read, literally many feet of them, spread out across the shelf. Those feet of books tell the story of someone who has died, and whose heirs have sold the collection, or who has moved, downsized, and sold beloved books no longer able to be, or perhaps  needed to be, included in their life. The best of used books, I imagine, carry in them a bit of the previous owner's attention and time.

Recently I stopped in a Burlington, VT bookstore I had never before visited, and found a used copy of Pico Iyer's "The Global Soul."  Only a week or two before, another friend had introduced me to a podcast interview with Iyer, which brought me to a different understanding of his work. Of course I bought the book.

"Photography is really homesickness: the wish to be everywhere at home." I didn't agree with those words; for me photography is perhaps more a wish to be everywhere away. That is: to consider every day as travel; to look carefully, with fresh eyes; to look anew each day, not taking for granted, not assuming; to bring an element of "away" into my daily life here, when travelling roads passed over hundreds or thousands of times. Though that quoted sentence is written far more succinctly and beautifully than I could, it is something I think about so often, while riding on my local roads, roads I travel daily.

Something struck me as amiss, and I read again. "Philosophy  is really homesickness: the wish to be everywhere at home. " Friederich Nietzsche. An error on my part in reading. Nietzsche quoted, Nietzsche always forbiddingly difficult for me, opens the first chapter of Iyer's book in a sentence that gave me something to chew on. Though I read it wrong.

Perhaps sometimes I read, as I sometimes see, what I need at the moment, what triggers my imagination. Here are some more photos from local rides, on local roads.


  1. For me photography is the celebration of opening my eyes after walking around with them pretty tightly shut for 65 years. Philosophy, which appealed to me when I was a student and had no brain of my own, should have done the same for my mind but my tendency to argue with absolutely everything isn't very helpful in developing understanding as I am often off at a tangent before I have got a grip on the topic.

    Looking at other people's photographs is interesting. I like those most which convey an excitement or a love of the subject but I do like good quality too so blurry phone shots of happenings don't generally appeal to me.

    I am glad to see that you have had a little sunshine for your bicycling.

    1. Thanks! Agreed, photography helps keep eyes open ... so does sunshine! And agreed also about blurry phone shots. Blogger also has a nasty habit of deteriorating sharpness in photos, unless adjusted in HTML.


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