Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Land ranging and roving.

There is a book on my shelf.

It is waiting for me to take the time which it deserves.

"Landscape and Memory." 
Simon Schama

We have become illiterate to the land.

How much have we written on its surface?

I look at the map.


A diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc.a street map
  • The discovery of the city wall remains was not a surprise to the City Council as maps had pinpointed Peter Street as a location for the historic ruins.
  • You have to identify a street with a name, using a map or a road sign.
  • There have been no measures initiated nor a road map charted out, to rectify such fiscal imbalances and to restore balance for long term growth.

A river arcs across the grid.

It continues beyond the fold.

How will I gauage its flow?

I put my licked finger to the wind and wander North.

I come to a fence and a sign.

The threats stop me in my tracks.


A keeper of a park, forest, or area of countryside:park rangers
  • That was not a secret in the city, and the police and park rangers turned a blind eye.
  • Most students were restless while the park ranger explained about the animals in the area.
  • During the trip, one of the kids is bitten by a snake and their guide, the park ranger, heads back to base for a serum.

I turn around the barbed forest, looking for open ground.


A person who spends their time wandering:they became rovers who departed further and further from civilization
  • I could take on a crew and sail to Canada in my own boat instead of booking passage, or turn into a rover of the sea, going where I please and doing what I like.
  • But who is he, this invisible being that rules me, this unknowable being, this rover of a supernatural race?


A written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers:a book of selected poems
  • After some serious research he wrote a book on the subject, Ancient Mosaics in Bulgaria.
  • Rosie bought me the DVD along with a book on philosophy.
  • I sat there a while longer, staring down at the vellum pages of the book on the low desk before me.


The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information:I’ve a great memory for faces[MASS NOUN]: the brain regions responsible for memory
  • No problem there, I have a terrible memory for names so didn't even remember them five seconds after leaving the room.
  • She still has a great memory for all the old Irish songs and poems.
  • All creatures do need a memory for basic functioning and survival.

Wide ranging questions.

The more maps we need the more we lose/have lost our (emotional/physical) attachment to the land?

What is close reading if we are detached?

Is writing to be detached?

Apparent detachment brings paradoxical attachment.

Is it to be "out of body" or is it to be "embodied"?

I know knot what I write.
(He keeps the typing error k)


I am roving across the page. I pause an instant.

There are decisions here which are hardly conscious.

I reach out for a defintion.

One definition calls over another.

A song.

I am conscious of the space.

I pause an instant.

I remember.

I pick up the memory of a man who has lost his.

I place it there.

I scroll up.

I retrace my steps.

How much of my memory is dependent on what others have forgotten?

Where was I now?

I had Googled Domesday Book.

We are surrounded by cartographers, rangers and accountants.

We are much endebted.


Blommaert, J., 2010, Historical Bodies and Historical Space.

Schama, S., 1996,  Landscape and Memory

Wesch, M., 2014, Why we need a why.


  1. I believe this, Simon. D&G say quite pointedly in A Thousand Plateaus that "Writing has nothing to do with signifying. It has to do with surveying, mapping, even realms that are yet to come" (4,5). The realms yet to come are occupying my mind more these days. You map well, and reading for me is become mapping, not tracing. I read to learn what I think, not so much what the writer thought. Your writing particularly helps me to do that, and I thank you. The best writers always do that.

  2. This stays with me: "The more maps we need the more we lose/have lost our (emotional/physical) attachment to the land?"

    A poem I wrote called "Landed" is my attempt to express some emotion from the attachment to where I live now. I think another aspect is art....some Australian indigenous artwork exactly maps the land forms and are painted by people that have never been in a plane, never seen the topography from the air, yet they know it.
    Poem can be read here:

    I loved this post, multi-facetted and evocative. thanks Simon.