The Gentle Mystery

Friday, 30 April 2010









I can't think of a better way to start this post than with these startling photos from carninscatola's flickr account. I like the unfinished quality of her photos, like there's something missing, or an untold story behind them. They're like an exercise in gentle mystery.

And that's how I felt when reading Into the Wild. I felt as if the novel promised more than it could deliver, and I don't mean that in a negative way as it was an intelligent and informative read about the life of Christopher McCandless. I just don't think that anybody can explain his intentions and desires, they seem to be locked away in some enigmatic space.

I read this book together with my mother, and I think we both came away from it with polar opposite perspectives. Today, I compared the bits she highlighted and annotated on her copy of the novel, with the passages that I have noted down. One particular passage has my name scribbled on it in big, capital letters:

"Even when we were little," says Carine, who was born three years after Chris, "he was very to himself. He wasn't antisocial - he always had friends, and everybody liked him - but he could go off and entertain himself for hours. He didn't seem to need toys or friends. He could be alone without being lonely."

I asked my mother why she marked this passage with my name, her response was, "it sounds exactly like you." I think my mother read this story with Chris's mother in mind, rather than Chris. But her response made me wonder about the medium that we choose to pursue our desires through. Is it his philosophy that so troubles people, or is it simply the way that it was expressed?

As you can see, this weekend will be filled with writing for me ... happy, thoughtful weekend everyone.


heleen said...

First of all, the photography you included in this post is stunning. I'm going to check out her flickr photostream immediately!
Secondly, I'm fascinated with the concept of two people reading the same book from different perspectives. It's interesting how the same words can mean different things for different people... I just borrowed a novel from a friend and it'll be interesting to see how we both perceived the story once I'm done reading it.

Des said...

That is an excellent passage. Some people need constant interaction with other people. But I value my time and space for quiet reflection.

cinta / sepi / sayu said...

oh thank you dearest, yes i did. need so much practice though! these photographs....amazing. Xx

Lemon said...

these are ...(there is no word, exquisite, truthful,touchable and untouchable, beautiful)? thankyou for sharing!

Sundari said...

These photos are stunning, I see what you mean about the mysterious narrative. It really is interesting that you teamed these gentle photos with words about reading such a fascinating book (which I do intend to read, promise!)

bronwyn said...

i just picked this book up at a thrift shop. i absolutely relate to that passage. that was me exactly. i'm interested to see how i relate to the whole book. I just bookmarked that flickr stream. thanks for sharing. happy weekend to you.


i just bought into the wild and you have made me want to read it. that passage your mum highlighted about you reminds me of myself

Aron said...

I love the light and feel of these photos!

lyptis said...

Really lovely pictures, so dreamy.:)

Interesting, that u and ur mom like different, opposite parts of the book u were reading..

Hila said...

Thanks for your comments everyone :)

Make it Easy said...

oh wow, these are beautiful pictures!!

nadjasinblog said...

Beautiful photos

Hila said...


Kate said...

wow what beautiful snaps. lovely find. I have just found your blog, and I love it.