reinterpreting Chatwin

Notes and inspirations extracted from Bruce Chatwin’s (published letters) Under the Sun


The search for freedom is very likely the most violent known to man

His mind goes off on a tangent, usually interesting, but usually irrelevant

Such a versatile personality, resisting categorization

Some invisible power carried him away – open, fair, free-minded, ruthlessly honest: some anti-conventional promise of an adventure

Enthusiasm was a constant and remained undimmed

He forever questioned restlessness: Who looks outside, dreams, Who looks inside, awakes

Why wander? To settle natural curiosity and an urge to explore; feed a compulsion to just be on the road

Change is the only thing worth living for. Never sit your life out at a desk!

One’s independence is so fragile a thing that money hardly matters. Penniless: a happy state of affairs but not likely to last.

It’s ridiculous rationalizing that which appeals to irrational instincts, such as wanting a way of life that is largely an imagination. And, why ever not?

Rapidly liberating oneself of all possessions: renunciation of everything but the most portable things

For a long time he was looking too closely at works of art. Was suggested to try long horizons. Africa, perhaps (: and so, he went..

Inspired by the kind of avidity for the undiscovered

There are two Timbuctoos. One – the tired caravan city where the Niger bends into the Sahara, the meeting pace of all who travel by camel or canoe, though the meeting was rarely amicable. And then there is the Timbuctoo of the mind – a mythical city in a Never-Never Land, an antipodean mirage, a symbol for the back of beyond!

Remains elusive but suggests an intrigue

Achieving the means for total mobility

He always contemplated really long and slow trips elsewhere, by the most obscure frontier posts and along the least frequented routes to make all fragmented diaries into episodes of travels

The form of the book must be dictated by the journey itself – to say the least – unpredictable and no point in even trying to guess what it will hold

alas, he knew himself very well: once at a destination, the footsteps always lead to other horizons

On his way he lands in strange situations; people and books tell him strange stories which hold up to form a message

Travel gave him immediate pleasure, writing – only satisfaction; but it’s a combination he longed to have

~ ~ ~

you can say we’re a “love match of literary variety”

Only.. we seemed to have missed each other by several decades and continents

2 thoughts on “reinterpreting Chatwin

  1. This is why I AM UTTERLY IN LOVE WITH YOU….
    and ever shall be!
    You try to express the INEXPRESSIBLE…
    and you manage it!

    I find that sometimes I have to look to the side of Shadow-Reality…slightly AWAY from it….
    before one can even get a sense of that Existence.

    I adore your Writing…Your Art…which speaks of The Quest…Travel…Doubt…Questioning…Ability
    …Arrival & Departure…Delight…Discovery…The Kindness U show in Sharing…

    U R Quite Unique…Strange…Unknowable in the Sense Of Mystery steeped in the Creative Unfolding
    of a Majestic and Awesome Destiny only you can discern…and establish.

    I tend to live each hour as my last…
    I hope I have not offended you with my Expression of Joy
    to find a true Kindred Spirit …a Traveller Like Myself…and Artist Of Words too…
    but in case we never meet again…for truly…
    who can predict the Future?

    I have just this Present Time…
    to say…
    Thou art yet the oddest…the most eccentric yet I have met outside myself…
    and thou art indeed The Most Beautiful For It!

    I lay my unworthy Bouquet of Compliments at thy pretty feet.


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