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Atelier Wednesday 3rd march 2010. Journal.


Having just returned from three months traveling in China  there are myriad images  remnant on my retina, in my memory and, dare I Say, my Soul, bless it!.  Yes,  each time I visit her, China certainly affects  my soul, that  totally abstract  canvas which only I know so well (or maybe not so well) but some observation, some organization, some reflection, all this and more  are  necessary in order to write down,  to describe  these  very private  sensations,  to start painting the canvas as it were.

After such an interesting voyage, having so much stored material in reserve should be seen as an advantage, a windfall, a sort of capital in the bank but, in order to draw on this capital, a choice, a selection is necessary and hereby hangs the problem which inevitably leads, at  least it does in my case, to  a state of apathy and prevarication where I slit my eyes to cut out the view.  All the details seems to vanish like the train arrivals and departures vanish from the ticking board at a railway station;  but now I must  make an effort to recall  events as I sit in a writers workshop in  Fougeres under the stern gaze of our foreman. 

So what exactly is happening? well, our teacher has given us the task of writing down some events as if we were writing a daily journal, the way some writers do on a regular basis, and we have had a reading  of extracts from several eminent authors  diaries,  one of them rings a bell so I dive in and describe some memories of events experienced in China. They  resemble in a way those described in the example given us  - that of finding oneself involved with strangers and their problems or inversely having a problem in a strange place (and a stranger attaching himself, herself to one in order to be helpful) This really happened to me in Fushun when one day a woman just attached herself to me as my “guide” and I had a devil of a job shaking her off. But there is another reading behind this; hindsight and further  contemplation has taught me not to be so afraid of being kidnapped in this manner while in China as, mentally, the Chinese function differently from us which everyone of course knows. But knowing and understanding are two different matters, travel gives the former but does it always lead to the latter?