Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wisdom is a butterfly

I'm lying on the couch, in the sun, next to a steaming bowl of tea while the frost melts outside and a stray dog barks far away.

Late last night, with the electric blanket on 'three', I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's unusual chronicle of his life in the city, Istanbul: Memories and the City. I was introduced to him by Paul Theroux, who dedicates almost an entire chapter to the writer in his own Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. I am now adamant to visit Turkey.

Theroux writes that he'd been invited to give a talk in Ankara, and it was hinted to him that the setting would be formal. "That meant I'd need a necktie, an article I did not possess. I bought one for a few dollars, and that night, to the invited guests, I enlarged on my theme of the return journey, how it reveals the way the world works, and makes fools of pundits and predictors. How it showed, too, the sort of traveller I'd been, what I'd seen, what I'd missed the first time.

"I was not in search of news - had never been, I said. I wanted to know more about the world, about people's lives. I wasn't a hawk in my travels; more a butterfly. But revelation was granted to the most aimless traveller, who was happier and more receptive to impressions. 'An aimless joy is pure joy,' I said, quoting Yeats.

'And wisdom is a butterfly
And not a gloomy bird of prey.'


Anne-Marie said...

Hi Charles, very interesting and thought-provoking blog! Thanks for sharing.

I see that you're quite an avid reader. Have you read 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts? It's the story of an Australian fugitive and his life in India. I'll admit that my judgment may be a tad clouded by my own love affair with the city of Mumbai, but I thought it was one of the best books I read in a long time!


dustymuffin said...

Lovely imagery

" to a steaming bowl of tea while the frost melts outside and a stray dog barks far away."

Thank you.

Beautiful Mind said...

Anne-Marie my apologies for taking so long to reply to your message of a few weeks ago, but which I so appreciated. I've been so busy these last few weeks that to even think of blogging (the few times I have, has been directly from my Nokia E90, which no direct interaction with the blog site itself) has been a luxury. Even this minute I'm blogging in the bath, my most favourite personal space of all.

Neverthless as soon as I got to Jozi on Friday afternoon I was, upon your reccomendation, straight into Exclusive Books to get myself a copy of Shantaram...and I've not put it down since. So thank you! And thank you for taking the time to read Beautiful Mind, also to comment. Please tell me more about you, and where you live.

Beautiful Mind said...

dustymuffin thanks for your comment... it's much appreciated! and i thoroughly enjoy your blog.