A Field Guide to Getting Lost review È 3


10 thoughts on “A Field Guide to Getting Lost

  1. says:

    Say you're a coin You're resting uietly in somebody's palm Someone says heads or tails and suddenly you are thrown high up in the air as high as you can goAs you twirl you meet Walter Benjamin and his illuminations you meet Daniel Boone and his adventures in the wilderness you meet Robert Hass and Simone Weil you meet the color blue and all its meanings you meet Cabeza de Vaca Eunice Williams Mary Jemison and Cynthia Ann Parker you meet the Clash and Isak Dinesen you meet Alfred Hitchcock and his vertigo you meet Yves Klein and the blue of distance you meet the desert and rattlesnakes you meet lovers and friends and houses and maps and cartographersAnd then you land flat on the groundIs it heads? Is it tails? It doesn't matter You've had a glimpse of the worldOne of the most elegant and arresting intellectual digressions that I have ever readI could have lived inside Rebecca Solnit's head forever following the trails of thoughts that spread and separated and merged like weeds at the edges of a riverHistorian poet philosopher thinker this woman can write about anything and writes looking up at the stars her feet firmly rooted in the dirtBewitching


  2. says:

    Introspective while still attentive to the world outside herself Solnit meanders in this slow moving collection centered on the concept of getting lost The essays read as mosaics of cultural history autobiography nature writing and aesthetic criticism the depth of Solnit's insight as well as the vivid contrasts between each essay's parts rewards careful reading Those familiar with Solnit through her recent fast paced political work—typically published first online later organized into a book—will find a much different kind of writing here A few of the early essays read as a bit dated out of step with the ways in which America has changed since the collection's original publication in 2006 but that problem fades as Solnit goes on


  3. says:

    The opening chapter of this book can be misleading Solnit delineates the uneven skyline of the many uncertainties that shape our expectations with surgeon’s precision employing the perfect choice of words and metaphors so that the reader falls under the false impression of being handed a map that will eventually lead him to the steady inner balance that will help him navigate the unpredictability of lifeWhat ensues instead is a vibrant mosaic composed of autobiographical flashbacks labyrinthine references to art history and the natural world that confuses and dazzles the reader who can’t help but grope in the dark of Solnit’s dislocated meanderingsSolnit’s digressions revolve around uestions of identity and consciousness Under the ubiuitous leitmotiv that in order to find our way we need first to get lost and submit to the wilderness of chance Solnit weaves a complex tapestry that tangentially explores the recollections of her early twenties while commenting on iconic films painters and writers that became determinant for her emerging worldviews And so the reader gets to associate Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” and its love story with San Francisco Bay to Solnit’s affair with a native American in the Mojave desert or the existential journey of the Spanish conuistador Cabeza de Vaca who got lost in the wilderness to emerge a new individual with snippets of Solnit’s family history drifting along with dreams ideals and the disorientation that comes with the brutality of reality and impending loss Solnit gives us a map and then invites us to ignore it so we can learn to live in uncertainty to embrace the blue of distance without trying to discern the exact shapes in the remote horizon Being lost or feeling lost generally implies a negative connotation that urges us to plan in advance to anticipate to control life events at all costs which makes us forget the thrill of improvization of succumbing to whatever is in store for us accepting it making it part of ourselves in the ongoing metamorphosing of the self Embracing emptiness is sometimes the only means towards fulfillmentLeaping into the void doesn’t have to imply freefalling; maybe it’s the reuired step to touch the skyLeap into the void by Yves Klein


  4. says:

    The Blue of Distance I’m feeling somewhat lost of latePerhaps I need to embrace thatTo lose myself in a book A book about getting lostTo find myself in the unknownI’m intermittently blue tooDrawn to “the colour of distance”Seeking happiness and wholenessA different hueMaybe a different “who”Image Voyage by Lee Jungho SourceI yield to the languid beauty of distant hues of blue“The most submissive abandonment the dissolving of one’s being in a lake whose surface is infinitely tactile” CalvinoLostAnd maybe foundProfoundThis wasAwe inspiring Inspiring A metaphysical breath of fresh airA nudge along a path toI know not whereWill I findOr be found?Perhaps they’re the samePerhaps I will know when I’m thereImage Forget me nots SourceSee also The above is primarily a response to the first “The Blue of Distance” essayI’ve written a conventional review of all the pieces in the book HERE


  5. says:

    Profound and erudite essays about distance; introspective but painted on a multi dimensional canvas They focus on place deserts forests mountains cities and loss abandonment separation all mediated through culture literature music and art and relationships Solnit’s connecting theme is the need to be lost before you can find yourself It sounds like the opposite of Matthew 77 seek and you will find” but it’s not being lost is part of seeking and you can’t be found until you’ve been lost For Christians that’s also true in a spiritual sense you have to acknowledge and repent of your sins before you can be saved Her parents are Jewish and Roman CatholicOur arrogant ignorance of the natural world keeps park rangers and coastguards busy but Earth is mapped so we always know roughly what’s beyond the hill on the horizon Thus we are simultaneously and less able to be lost than early explorers were Open Door“ Stories that make the familiar strange again Conversations that make everything around them disappear Dreams that I forget until I realized the have colored everything Getting lost like that seems like the beginning of finding your way or finding another way”This gives rationale for the essays that follow The title refers to the Jewish tradition of leaving the door open overnight at Passover for Elijah “a thrilling violation of ordinary practice”Solnit explores the idea that “it’s the job of artists to open doors” with examples including Poe Keats Woolf Thoreau Meno and Old Norse She compares being metaphorically lost with being literally lost in unfamiliar wilderness Modern people are illiterate in the language of the natural world even if we notice plants animals tracks weather and geology we don’t know or understand the significance of particular ones “ How do you find what you can’t even conceive of?”The Blue of Distance“ The world is blue at its edges and in its depths This blue is the light that got lost The color of that distance is the color of an emotion the color of solitude and of desire the color of there seen from here the color of where you are not”Image Georgia O’Keeffe Light Coming on the Plains I II and III 1917 Source“ Distance ceases to be distance and to be blue when we arrive in it The far becomes near and they are not the same place”Searing brilliance the standout piece I’ve written a tribute cum response HERE“ Some things we have only as long as they remain lost some things are not lost only so long as they are distant”Daisy Chain“ Things in my family have a way of disappearing Truth was not a fixed uantity”Solnit was thus inspired to study history but this is personal examining the experiences of her forebears who immigrated to the US leaving country culture and language forging new identities in an alien land A daisy chain of people and conflicting stories and also a specific memory of making daisy chains with her grandmother “ Summer breezes caressed me my legs stepped forward as thought possessed of their own appetites and the mountains kept promising”The Blue of DistanceA history lesson mourning the fact that we can never be as truly lost in the landscape as the conuistadors in a continent they knew nothing about Slave narratives teach that sometimes acceptance is the answer Like early white captives who embraced tribal life and resisted “rescue” Like Cabeza de Vaca who after ten years “ceased to be lost not by returning but by turning into something else” We need to find new ways to be lost with rituals to mark transitions and that might mean losing the past to join the presentAbandon“ One of the allures of ruins in the city is that of wilderness a place full of the promise of the unknown”Image Abandoned Building Caven Point NJ by Peter Hujar who is mentioned in this essay SourceIn contrast to natural wilderness suburbs are like tranuilizers architecture and topography as drugs And there’s a sadder story here about a friend from Solnit’s youth who lived with abandon but ultimately abandoned her life because of drugs Her death changed Solnit’s life foreverThe Blue of Distance“ Every love has its landscape Thus place possesses you in its absence”Musing on music and place landscape and memory Country and western songs are about learning from the aftermath of disaster The blues are “captivity narratives” about “perpetual internal exile” a contrast to the slave narratives referenced in the preceding Blue essay Two Arrowheads“ It wasn’t particular things but the space between them that abundance of absence that is the desert’s invitation”There is life in the desert as well as emotion mystery and extremes of light and temperature It’s “alive with the primal forces” You might even find the odd arrowhead And tortoises and snakes “ It was the vastness that I loved and an austerity that was also voluptuous Solitude in the city is about the lack of other people or rather their distance beyond a door or wall but in remote places it isn’t an absence but the presence of something else a kind of humming silence in which solitude seems as natural to your species as any other”The Blue of Distance“ Movies are made out of darkness as well as light”Sometimes people disappear Amelia Earheart Antoine de Saint Exupery and in some senses Yves Klein among others Klein an artist patented International Klein Blue in 1960 He was also a Rosicrucian mystic and a fourth dan blackbelt in judo The other aspect of this essay is cartography and what’s not included the difference between what we know we don’t know terra incognita and what we imagine we do know Shangri La Knowledge has many limits including our understanding of it She notes Donald Rumsfeld’s famous saying about known knowns known unknowns and unknown unknowns including the context of his being “one of the vultures making the case for bombing Baghdad’s civilians” She also highlights what he omitted “unknown knowns” our unconscious or disavowed beliefsMaps are keys but do they give us freedom to explore or lock us into the known?One Story House“ The weight of a dream is not in proportion to its size Some dreams are made of fog some of lace some of lead”Solnit dreams repeatedly of her single story childhood home though the memories are not happy She pivots to endangered species and then some success at reversing that in California It turns out that is partly due to a protection plan her father wrote By discovering how stressful that job was she understands and accepts the tensions at home and thus him The one story house is a place for than one interpretation than one story “ It is in the nature of things to be lost”This was my first Solnit though it has long been on my radar I found it in Tate Modern art gallery Odd despite one essay about blue and another about Klein but fortunate I will return to her


  6. says:

    All your life you've never seenA woman taken by the windFleetwood Mac RhiannonI simply could not get these lyrics out of my head as I read Rebecca Solnit's remarkable book of essays A Field Guide to Getting Lost Truth be told Solnit could be an amazing philosopher if she organized her thoughts a little tightly But she is at heart a cultural historian an activist and a journalist and not a philosopher I admit that I went into this book hoping for something to act as a compliment to one of my favorite reading discoveries of recent years Frederic Gros' A Philosophy of Walking So in ways I was both disconcerted and pleasantly surprised that Solnit's work was not what I was expectingIs any book exactly what we were expecting? What a boring world that would be if that were true of all booksMy gripe about the book as outlined above has to do with me than with her And it is a very minor complaint overshadowed by Solnit's brilliance Most of the time I felt that the book delivered on its title At times I was lost but not lost in a panicked or annoyed way I was glad to be lost in Solnit's reflections on everything from the death of friends to disconcerting dreams to desert tortoises Solnit's thoughts flow with great ease internally though they may seem a little jumpy when bouncing from subject to subject Transitions aren't her strength Immersion isTake for instance the exploration of what lost means Lost really has two disparate meanings Losing things is about the familiar falling away getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet a friend the key You still know where you are Everything is familiar except that there is one item less one missing element Or you get lost in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it Either way there is a loss of control Imagine yourself streaming through time shedding gloves umbrellas wrenches books friends homes names This is what the view looks like if you take a rear facing seat on the train Looking forward you constantly acuire moments of arrival moments of realization moments of discovery The wind blows your hair back and you are greeted by what you have never seen before The material falls away in onrushing experience It peels off like skin from a molting snake Of course to forget the past is to lose the sense of loss that is also memory of an absent richness and a set of clues to navigate the present by the art is not one of forgetting but letting go And when everything else is gone you can be rich in lossIf I based my assessment of the book on prose alone I would grade this book among the best Her turns of phrase are scintillating her metaphors envelop the heart and mind and her sometimes strange insights are enlightening and beautiful as demonstrated in her musings on butterflies and their transformation The people thrown into other cultures go through something of the anguish of the butterfly whose body must disintegrate and reform than once in its life cycle the butterfly is so fit an emblem of the human soul that its name in Greek is psyche the word for soul We have not much language to appreciate this phase of decay this withdrawal this era of ending that must precede beginning Nor of the violence of the metamorphosis which is often spoken of as though it were as graceful as a flower bloomingI found this paragraph poignant mostly because of my background I was raised as an Air Force brat Born in Germany on US soil literally when the military builds a hospital overseas they fly over a dump truck load of dirt from the States and drop it into the pit that will serve as the hospital's foundation So yes I can be President of the United States technically then moved from place to place Texas the Philippines back to Texas to Italy Minnesota Nebraska England where I graduated high school barely then on to adult life in Wyoming then Pennsylvania California Utah and now Wisconsin And these were living situations not traveling or touristing I was resident there I lived there In the Philippines we lived in a house on stilts and my dog was eaten by the locals; in Italy we lived among the Italians for most of our stay only moving into Base Housing a few months before we left; and I came back from England with an accent which was great for getting dates incidentally and colourful phrases and words like sod off and wanker which doesn't get you dates You can imagine the impact that this had on my life I left a lot of friends behind most of whom I've never seen again I don't have a home to go to Home is wherever my family is currently my parents are in California though I don't consider it home or wherever I happen to be Wisconsin feels like home than anyplace else probably because we've been here 20 years But part of my home exists only in my imagination in memory The base we lived at in Germany has been made into a public airport The base I lived at in the Philippines is literally buried under volcanic ash San Vito Italy is now partially a town they tore down the barbed wire capped fences and let people build residences and stores and markets when the Air Force moved out Still about 80% of the property there is simply abandoned The base I lived at in England RAF Chicksands is now a British spy base they won't let me back on except for short tours that are very strictly shepherded my brother went on one a few years back and didn't even get to see our old house though it was literally just down the hill from where the tour guides took him So while I got to see the world anew every few years there is some residual pain from the friends I left behind or who sometimes because of the nature of being Air Force brats left me behindI still dream of those places that are no longer places Or no longer the places I know Yes everyone goes through that to some extent buildings are torn down people move parking lots are made over old fields But I'm talking about something profound here I cannot go back to Clark Air Base housing in the Philippines San Vito has little if any semblance to the place I knew as an adolescent Chicksands is strictly off limits to me outside of a guided tour to the place I once delighted in roaming and meandering around at my leisure In many ways I was born lost I grew up lost and I will always be lost whether I'm looking forward or backward on my life I still dream of those places wandering around always looking for friends who are not there in places that are strange alien twisted I am often lost in those dreams and awaken confused and grasping for something to ground me an anchor in the place my body occupies at the time The places in which any significant event occurred become embedded with some emotion and so to recover the memory of the place is to recover the emotion and sometimes to revisit the place uncovers the emotion Every love has its landscape Thus place which is always spoken of as though it only counts when you're present possesses you in its absence takes on another life as a sense of place a summoning in the imagination with all the atmospheric effect and association of a powerful emotion The places inside matter as much as the ones outside It is as though in the way places stay with you and that you long for them they become deities a lot of religions have local deities presiding spirits geniuses of the place You could imagine that in those songs Kentucky or the Red River is a spirit to which the singer prays that they mourn the dreamtime before banishment when the singer lived among the gods who were not phantasms but geography matter earth itselfAmen Sister Hallelujah


  7. says:

    I am obsessed with reading about nomadism About place the the experience we have as we move through it about topography how it reveals us while simultaneously revealing itself about wandering how our thoughts work when we move Solnit is a fantastic author in this veinRemember those rambling conversations that you had late late late into the night at some coffee shop when you were not yet twenty something or maybe you were just when you were discovering inventing? philosophy and you managed to link almost everything in the known universe together with some kindred soul over endless refills and bad french fries and then you went home to bed with a mixture of melancholy world weariness hope and the soft satisfaction of a job well done? Solnit rambles this way Her sources are wide and varied from the accounts of Cabeza de Vaca as he wandered an undiscovered west to her father's own master plan for Marin County to a buddhist abbott's sermon to her own dreams and recollections Ideas nest in other ideas and they are all connected nesting in songs childhood memories lost photos artistic projects dreams cultural myths historical anecdote and recollections of moments Sometimes she explains sometimes jumpcuts It is the exact pace of walking the same rhythm of thinking while moving Solnit writes about the personal experience of place and about the layers of memory memoir history and association that places have for each of us Or maybe better said what places cause in each of us It finally occurred to me in the last pages of the book what she might be doing All these disparate elements that she brings into the bookmight otherwise be lost Her dead high school friend the abbott's sermon her thoughts about the American West She is all over the place but has created a single spot for all of it By weaving these snippets together and giving them a place she ensures that they will not be lostPS It is fabulous synchronicity that I found and read this book at the same time as Psychogeography; they are utterly different and complementary two perspectives on the same thing


  8. says:

    Rebecca Solnit does indeed have a way with words The prose is exuisite and she has added a new dimension to getting lost not only when looking for a place but also within oneself I could feel myself accompanying her on her peregrinations and it has indeed taught me a few things about myself that I didn't knowThat's all that needs to be said buy the book read it put your feet up and lose yourself in this remarkable work


  9. says:

    Throughout this book I couldn't get Picasso's The Blue Room out of my mind Just like the painting A Field Guide to Getting Lost holds a deep sense of intimacy; of isolation the slippage of time and memory; a yearning for and appreciation of the outside As with the painting there is a hidden portrait between the covers of this book a life composed and painted over with disparate affective visuals to be lost and found The Blue Room 1901 21 x 24 Oil on Canvas There is something about Solnit's writing here that's uite like the colour blue—the blue of distance—that dominates it; the beauty of her words derives so much from the landscape around them that it seems to disappear and go out of depth when sought out for itself so that it is nearly impossible to uote from any essay in this volume It reuires presence and absence and knowing and not knowing to get lost—be it between these pages or otherwise A Field Guide to Getting Lost presents a rather different side of Solnit than in her recent political writing it is unhurried—purposedly slow even; a tessellation of essays where cultural history memoir nature writing and aesthetic criticism wash into each other wave building upon wave until they form delicate rosettes of ideas that like desert selenite can best be appreciated in the manner of their coming together; it is in their intricacy and otherworldliness that they become precious perspectives on realities that are otherwise relegated to the mundane This book has left me with much to think about and perhaps it will make —and less—sense in the blue of distance and out of the blue I am left thinking that the horizon is made material out of thin air and that in all our yearning we project our selves onto a lesser an unknown composed of the need for knowing


  10. says:

    This book is written like a love letter which in this case is an insult to its topicI found many of the anecdotes and references too personal making parts seem like an autobiography or collection of excuses than a cultural document on the idea of being lost The writing is also full of misplaced lyrical indulgences that detract from the somewhat sporadic historical references that seemed otherwise well researched and interesting Maybe Solnit couldn't come up with enough material maybe the book should have been an article maybe she was just lonely


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A Field Guide to Getting Lost

characters Ô eBook or Kindle ePUB ¸ Rebecca Solnit

Whether she is contemplating the history of walking as a cultural and political experience over the past two hundred years Wanderlust or using the life of photographer Eadweard Muybridge as a lens to discuss the trans. The opening chapter of this book can be misleading Solnit delineates the uneven skyline of the many uncertainties that shape our expectations with surgeon’s precision employing the perfect choice of words and metaphors so that the reader falls under the false impression of being handed a map that will eventually lead him to the steady inner balance that will help him navigate the unpredictability of lifeWhat ensues instead is a vibrant mosaic composed of autobiographical flashbacks labyrinthine references to art history and the natural world that confuses and dazzles the reader who can’t help but grope in the dark of Solnit’s dislocated meanderingsSolnit’s digressions revolve around uestions of identity and consciousness Under the ubiuitous leitmotiv that in order to find our way we need first to get lost and submit to the wilderness of chance Solnit weaves a complex tapestry that tangentially explores the recollections of her early twenties while commenting on iconic films painters and writers that became determinant for her emerging worldviews And so the reader gets to associate Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” and its love story with San Francisco Bay to Solnit’s affair with a native American in the Mojave desert or the existential journey of the Spanish conuistador Cabeza de Vaca who got lost in the wilderness to emerge a new individual with snippets of Solnit’s family history drifting along with dreams ideals and the disorientation that comes with the brutality of reality and impending loss Solnit gives us a map and then invites us to ignore it so we can learn to live in uncertainty to embrace the blue of distance without trying to discern the exact shapes in the remote horizon Being lost or feeling lost generally implies a negative connotation that urges us to plan in advance to anticipate to control life events at all costs which makes us forget the thrill of improvization of succumbing to whatever is in store for us accepting it making it part of ourselves in the ongoing metamorphosing of the self Embracing emptiness is sometimes the only means towards fulfillmentLeaping into the void doesn’t have to imply freefalling; maybe it’s the reuired step to touch the skyLeap into the void by Yves Klein

review A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Formations of space and time in late nineteenth century America River of Shadows Rebecca Solnit has emerged as an inventive and original writer whose mind is daring in the connections it makes A Field Guide to Getting. The Blue of Distance I’m feeling somewhat lost of latePerhaps I need to embrace thatTo lose myself in a book A book about getting lostTo find myself in the unknownI’m intermittently blue tooDrawn to “the colour of distance”Seeking happiness and wholenessA different hueMaybe a different “who”Image Voyage by Lee Jungho SourceI yield to the languid beauty of distant hues of blue“The most submissive abandonment the dissolving of one’s being in a lake whose surface is infinitely tactile” CalvinoLostAnd maybe foundProfoundThis wasAwe inspiring Inspiring A metaphysical breath of fresh airA nudge along a path toI know not whereWill I findOr be foundPerhaps they’re the samePerhaps I will know when I’m thereImage Forget me nots SourceSee also The above is primarily a response to the first “The Blue of Distance” essayI’ve written a conventional review of all the pieces in the book HERE

characters Ô eBook or Kindle ePUB ¸ Rebecca Solnit

Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Solnit's own life to explore the issues of wandering being lost and the uses of the unknown The result is a distinctive stimulating and poignant voyage of discove. I am obsessed with reading about nomadism About place the the experience we have as we move through it about topography how it reveals us while simultaneously revealing itself about wandering how our thoughts work when we move Solnit is a fantastic author in this veinRemember those rambling conversations that you had late late late into the night at some coffee shop when you were not yet twenty something or maybe you were just when you were discovering inventing philosophy and you managed to link almost everything in the known universe together with some kindred soul over endless refills and bad french fries and then you went home to bed with a mixture of melancholy world weariness hope and the soft satisfaction of a job well done Solnit rambles this way Her sources are wide and varied from the accounts of Cabeza de Vaca as he wandered an undiscovered west to her father's own master plan for Marin County to a buddhist abbott's sermon to her own dreams and recollections Ideas nest in other ideas and they are all connected nesting in songs childhood memories lost photos artistic projects dreams cultural myths historical anecdote and recollections of moments Sometimes she explains sometimes jumpcuts It is the exact pace of walking the same rhythm of thinking while moving Solnit writes about the personal experience of place and about the layers of memory memoir history and association that places have for each of us Or maybe better said what places cause in each of us It finally occurred to me in the last pages of the book what she might be doing All these disparate elements that she brings into the bookmight otherwise be lost Her dead high school friend the abbott's sermon her thoughts about the American West She is all over the place but has created a single spot for all of it By weaving these snippets together and giving them a place she ensures that they will not be lostPS It is fabulous synchronicity that I found and read this book at the same time as Psychogeography; they are utterly different and complementary two perspectives on the same thing

  • Paperback
  • 209
  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost
  • Rebecca Solnit
  • English
  • 02 March 2018
  • 9780143037248

About the Author: Rebecca Solnit

Writer historian and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of than twenty books on feminism western and indigenous history popular power social change and insurrection wandering  and walking hope and disaster including  Call Them By Their True Names Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction  Cinderella Liberator  Men Explain Things to Me The Mother of All uestions  and  Ho