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Rebecca Solnit

“Reading these stories, it's tempting to think that
the arts to be learned are those of tracking, hunting,
navigating, skills of survival and escape. Even in the
everyday world of the present, an anxiety to survive
manifests itself in cars and clothes for far more rugged
occasions than those at hand, as though to express some
sense of the toughness of things and of readiness to face
them. But the real difficulties, the real arts of survival,
seem to lie in more subtle realms. There, what's called
for is a kind of resilience of the psyche, a readiness to
deal with what comes next. These captives lay out in a
stark and dramatic way what goes on in every life: the
transitions whereby you cease to be who you were. Seldom
is it as dramatic, but nevertheless, something of
this journey between the near and the far goes on in
every life. Sometimes an old photograph, an old friend,
an old letter will remind you that you are not who you
once were, for the person who dwelt among them, valued
this, chose that, wrote thus, no longer exists. Without
noticing it you have traversed a great distance; the
strange has become familiar and the familiar if not
strange at least awkward or uncomfortable, an outgrown
garment. And some people travel far more than
others. There are those who receive as birthright an adequate
or at least unquestioned sense of self and those
who set out to reinvent themselves, for survival or for
satisfaction, and travel far. Some people inherit values
and practices as a house they inhabit; some of us have to
burn down that house, find our own ground, build from scratch, even as a psychological metamorphosis.”


Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
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A Field Guide to Getting Lost A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
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