Friday, June 10, 2011

walden .

So at the end of yesterday's post I randomly threw in that I had picked up Walden by Henry David Thoreau at the library. I have always been highly appreciate of literature in various forms, and it and I are connected in quite a few ways. When I was very young, I wrote in journals -- most especially when the family would go on vacation. In some ways I was like a reporter, keeping daily chronicles of every single minute thing that we did, from the literal food items on my plate at breakfast to the specific game we played in the pool. To be honest, I don't know if that was the beginnings of a love of writing -- but it certainly can be celebrated in its own correlative manner.

The fact remains that it very well could be a complete non sequitur. However in high school I was coerced into learning various poets and their works, and some even epic poems (which, surprisingly, resurfaced in my years in college). I was not as big of a fan of that stuff despite the fact that I wrote my own lyrics at a steady pace during that time. Lyrics were a daily escape -- and a purging of emotion. Writing it down would get it out of thought and mind. I remember a close friend who would always write tidbits on post-its... and I will never forget the first time I wrote. The first time it was on a napkin at dinner. And I'm pretty sure I still have that napkin... but the second time was at the 8th grade formal. The girl who I sort of was going with had sort of ended what you could kind of call a relationship before we actually went to the dance. No big... but needless to say I was feeling a bit deflated that night. So I say and wrote on post-its in green pen. I know I know... obsessive details.

I then took AP Language and Composition in the junior year of high school, and proceeded to take AP Literature and Composition the following year. That really helped to develop my writing skills... and at the same time gain a huge appreciation for the effort it takes to really put a work together. Despite exempting the necessary English general education classes at Clemson, I took them anyways... just out of love for the subject. Essays were always enjoyable. And I know that sounds very weird...

But not to what all of this background information is leading up to: Walden. Thoreau has always been posthumously praised for his great experiences in New England, at Walden Pond. Personally I always sort of viewed it as a sort of escapism literature. Though after reading the first 15 pages or so, I appreciate it so much more. The words seem to litter the page with uniformity and reference, and carry a sort of effluence that is absolutely unreal.

Now, I'm not normally one to gush.. but in addition to realizing I forgot how much I liked to read, I'm really looking forward to working my way through Walden. I'm sure I will have more things to report about the more that I get through it! There are just memorable quotes on every page -- and I wish I could tell you guys all about all of them but it's simply not possible. However one of my favorites thus far is in regards to the generation gap. In particular, our generation is just so far removed from the lives that our parents had, and vice versa. Thoreau argues that the wisdom of the most wise elder is virtually useless because life is completely different. Instead, life is laid out for us to experience and make our own decisions and choices regarding it. However once we reach old age, our learned "wisdom" will be just as useless to the next generation as our parents' wisdom was to us. Put simply, "Old deeds for old people, new deeds for new."

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