Monthly Archives: November 2012

Look both ways, Charlotte

Welcome to Looking up/looking down—an occasional blog about writing, reading and watching the world.

Why looking up/looking down? Well, it’s something I like to do when I take photographs—and when I write, too. It reminds me that the world can’t be framed, that we can only ever see fragments, that there are infinitely more views to be seen and heard than we imagine.

I’m currently writing a novella, and I found my main character, an ageing expatriate Australian living in Paris, thinking this:

When you reach an age—you’ll know it when it comes—looking forward won’t do. Looking back, if you let it, can consume every breath you take. But looking up, looking down …  it’s here, in these oblique moments, that we truly live, where it’s possible to find joy.

Stop and smell the roses? Live in the present? Yes, I need to be reminded of that, even if it does come from someone who, at the moment, doesn’t live anywhere except in my head!

Charlotte Brontë put it more simply:

I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.

To which I would only add: look down, too.

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