I am here. Those three words contain all that can be said – you begin with those and you return to them. Here means on this earth, on this continent and no other, in this city and no other, in this epoch I call mine, this century, this year. I was given no other place, no other time…..

Czesław Miłosz , ‘To Begin Where I Am’.

Today marks the 5th year since A Reader’s Footprints came into being.
I had not plan for a post to mark this day initially, but something in Czesław Miłosz’s words, which I happened to have been reading today, prompted me to.
I am here.
Yes, five years on, I am still here. And why wouldn’t I be? This is my ‘happy place-to-go-to’. This is my fortress built of books and of book loving friends, in which I take refuge in. From all that makes me feel helpless and vulnerable on the outside. From all that tends to rob me of my peace and joy.
Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote in The Secret Garden that “Where you tend a rose, a thistle cannot grow.”
That is how I want this space to be.
A garden where no thistles can grow to choke out that which nourishes.
Miłosz seemed to have found just the right words in helping me see clearer the direction in which I would like for this blog to take in the year(s) to come.

On writing:

I have written on various subjects, and not, for the most part, as I would have wished. But I am always aware that what I want is impossible to achieve. I would need the ability to communicate my full amazement at “being here” in one unattainable sentence which would simultaneously transmit the smell and texture of my skin, everything stored in my memory, and all I now assent to, dissent from. However, in pursuing the impossible, I did learn something. Each of us is so ashamed of his own helplessness and ignorance that he considers it appropriate to communicate only what he thinks others will understand. There are however, times when somehow we slowly divest ourselves of that shame and begin to speak openly about all the things we do not understand.

On that note, I will try to not let that ‘shame of my helplessness and ignorance’ deter me from my attempts to communicate on the things that matter to me, regardless of the level of understanding/ skill required. (Am I making sense here?)
For instance, I know that I suck at writing reviews, and that is why I usually avoid doing so. Why have my flaws exposed for all to see, right? But if the book or the reading experience had really meant something to me, I guess I will still try to communicate that over here, flawed as it may be.

On reading:

I have read many books, but to place all those volumes on top of one another and stand on them would not add a cubit to my stature. Their learned terms are of little use when I attempt to seize naked experience, which eludes all accepted ideas. To borrow their language can be helpful in many ways, but it also leads imperceptibly into a self-contained labyrinth, leaving us in alien corridors which allow no exit. And so I must offer resistance, check every moment to be sure I am not departing from what I have actually experienced on my own, what I myself have touched. I cannot invent a new language and I use the one I was first taught, but I can distinguish, I hope, between what is mine and what is merely fashionable. I cannot expel from memory the books I have read, their contending theories and philosophies, but I am free to be suspicious and to ask naïve questions instead of joining the chorus which affirms and denies.

I will try to keep myself being ‘free to be suspicious and to ask naive questions instead of joining the chorus which affirms and denies’. That will also mean that my reading choices will be those that are really suited to me, what I really want to read, and not ‘what is merely fashionable’. By that, I don’t mean that all worthy recommendations from fellow readers will just be disregarded, of course. Discretion will be the key word.

Let’s see how well these ‘aspirations’ get to be translated over here in the days to come.
Anyway, I look forward to a good year filled with good books and some great reading.
And I wish the same for all of you, too.
Happy New Year!



8 thoughts on “To Begin, Again….

  1. Happy new year Michelle! That looks like a great book the start the year with, and such beautiful phrases you’ve quoted, too.

    Let’s all have a wonderful year ahead.


    1. Happy New Year to you, too!
      Yes, this does seem like the right choice to start my year with. Believe it or not, I was having trouble finding just the right book (out of my thousand odd) to fit the mood and state of mind I was in. Something bad happened right at the onset of the new year and it threw me completely out of sync. This was at least something I could sink into.
      Beautiful writing, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t write a serious review of a book to save my life. That’s okay as there are plenty who can. I just take comfort and fun writing what I thought about it, telling people about it. Blogs should just reflect who the author is in their own life without worry. If people like it, fine, if not…too bad. All the best for 2017. I look forward to more posts


    1. Well said, Pam. If we can’t be at ease and enjoy our own blogs the way we want to, then what’s the point of it right? Wishing all the very best to you and yours too (animals included!) for the year ahead!


  3. I love the quotes you picked. And I do agree – we rarely communicate what we don’t understand.
    When I was reading Wide Sargasso Sea I thought I should write about things I did not understand fully. One of the reasons is to note the troubling bits so I can pay more attention to them on a second reading; another – to create an opportunity to discuss these issues with fellow bloggers and perhaps get some ideas.
    I did so with Drabble as well, and I think I will continue doing it occasionally.

    Happy anniversary, Michelle! May there be many more!


    1. Thanks, Anna!
      Glad you enjoyed the Drabble, too. I am probably much too lazy of a reader to actively choose to analyze a book in detail and probe into the parts I don’t understand. Maybe I should at least make an effort….
      Anyway, looking forward to your further thoughts on the Drabble, and others to come.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s