the farway nearby

Someone gave me a book months ago. It took me until recently to get past the first page, I read it over and over and over, and would stop there. I couldn't read on. I have recently started writing stories of my own, a book of my own, and reading this book has become so intrinsic to that process of writing and connecting my own dots, and of understanding. I didn't go further than that first page not because it held no interest, but because in each sentence she seemed to be building an idea that resonated, acting like a crystal ball, revealing an idea that would soon be my own. We all have those books that we have loved reading and have been special to us for some reason or another, but rarely do I find one that inspires me in my own writing, in my own act of creating. 

And it seems right that it was a gift. One that just like the person who gave it to me seemed to breeze into my life. Both I am grateful for. 
On the first page she writes...

What's your story? It's all in the telling. Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice. To love someone is to put yourself in their place we say, which is to put yourself in their story, or figure out how to tell yourself in their story.

Which means that a place is a story, and stories are geography, and empathy is first of all an act of imagination, a storyteller's art, and then a way of traveling from here to there. What is it like to be the old man silenced by a stroke, the young man facing the executioner, the woman walking across the border, the child on the roller coaster, the person you've only read about, or the one next to you in bed?

We tell ourselves stories in order to live...

The Faraway Nearby

by Rebecca Solnit

photos by : Rui Calcada Bastos

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