m a r g i n a l i a

notes from a creative writing PhD candidate

didion, mccullers, che & more: on travel & memory

“We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”

–Carson McCullers


“His father guessed what he was thinking, and spoke of what it had meant to them to leave their own land and seek new horizons: the courage that was needed to confront suffering; how they had fallen, and gathered strength, and risen again, time after time, while learning to adapt and survive among strangers. Everyplace they had stopped, they made a home with vigor and determination, even if only for a week or a month, because nothing wears down inner strength as quickly as living from day to day. ‘All you will have is the present. Waste no energy crying over yesterday or dreaming of tomorrow. Nostalgia is fatiguing and destructive; it is the vice of the expatriate. You must put down roots as if they were forever, you must have a sense of permanence…’”

–Isabel Allende, Of Love and Shadows


“When I first saw New York I was twenty, and it was summertime, and I got off a DC-7 at the old Idlewild temporary terminal in a new dress which had seemed very smart in Sacramento but seemed less smart already, even in the old Idlewild temporary terminal, and the warm air smelled of mildew and some instinct, programmed by all the movies I had ever seen and all the songs I had ever read about New York, informed me that it would never be quite the same again.”

–Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”


“You are young only once, and I happened to be young then.”

Willa Cather, The Bohemian Girl


“A journey is a gesture inscribed in space, it vanishes even as it’s made. You go from one place to another place, and on to somewhere else again, and already behind you there is no trace that you were ever there.” 

–Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room


“There, we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world.  Always curious, looking into everything that came before our eyes, sniffing out each corner but only ever faintly–not seting down roots in any land or staying long enough to see the substratum of things; the outer limits would suffice.”

–Ernesto “Che” Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries


from Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills.


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