365 Days of Writing – Day 182 – The Faraway Nearby

Faraway Nearby Rebecca Solnit


As I mentioned on Day 172, I discovered a book called “The Faraway Nearby.”  Based on the short paragraph about it, I purchased the Kindle edition.

I’ve now had a chance to ready 12% (Kindle tracking) of the book and I am so happy I purchased it.

I sometimes feel like I’m sitting with a friend as I read Rebecca’s prose.  “Yes!” I want to say.  “I know exactly how you feel.  I am going through the same thing!”  We are in step.  I realize something about my relationship with my mother only to read about it in this book the next day.  It’s uncanny.

The other day my mother asked me how my day had been.  Normally, knowing she won’t remember any of what I tell her, I dismiss her with a simple, “fine.”  But the other day I’d had a really good day so thought I’d share it.  Two words weren’t out of my mouth before she was off in her own world, remembering her past.  Any interest in my day was gone.  Okay, you want to talk about the past?  I get it.  So tell me about my past.  I know so little about myself as a child.  There are no photo albums, no home movies, no baby books.  I have barely a memory before I was thirteen.  I feel like I’ve been cheated out of a significant portion of my life.

She gazes at me and then giggles and admits that she can’t remember anything about when I was young but “did I tell you about the time when I was four?”  So I listen for the hundredth time a story I could recite by heart.

In “The Faraway Nearby” I came across the following passage:

“We were in a looking glass world where I knew more about her childhood than she did about mine.  When I was an adult, we didn’t talk about me.  If I told her something went wrong in my life, she was likely to focus on my mistakes or get upset and demand I reassure her fears.  For a long time, when I mentioned something eventful in my own life, she would change the subject in the very opening words of her reply.  So we talked about her, mostly about fears and grievances.”

Later she offers a remedy to the feeling of being unknown, being deprived of a history.  She says you have to make your own story.

“…the largeness of the world is a balm to loss, trouble and ugliness.  And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren’t so deeply entranced and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.”

Seems the universe knew this is what I needed.  I don’t believe that all the traveling I’ve been doing and will be doing is a coincidence.  It’s a gift.  For which I am very grateful.


One thought on “365 Days of Writing – Day 182 – The Faraway Nearby

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