Posted in Weekly Blog

Wandering

wanderingSometimes it’s OK to just wander and find things we weren’t looking for and discover at times, treasure!  There’s the famous Wordsworth for example on finding the daffodils, the visual memory of which continued to serve him when in vacant or pensive mood his rapture of beautiful discovery.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Geoffrey Baines, was our very welcomed guest today and brought with him in his topic of wandering, a sense of potential.
A French word for a wanderer is ‘Flâneur’ or female, ‘Flaneuse’.  The term has previously  been associated more negatively with the term idler  but is enjoying a more positive revival.  This was helpful to some members of the group who had been described as ‘idle’ as children when in fact they did not experience it as this but youthful exploration and discovery of their environment, so the positive concept of being a  ‘Flâneur’ or ‘Flaneuse’ was liberating.  In the modern age of 24/7 shopping and internet use, maybe slowing down to look and discover may be a helpful use of one’s time on occasion.  See the Paris Review; ‘In Praise of the Flâneur’ for more information.

And for a particularly female account, Lauren Elkin’s book ‘Flaneuse’ has a nice write up on the ‘Penguin’ website, see below:

‘Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.

That is an imaginary definition.’

If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?

In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.

From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.

There is even a wander society inspired by Keri Smith’s book of the same name described by ‘Penguin’ as;

You are electing to join a secret underground movement.

Membership will require you to conduct research on your immediate environment and complete a variety of assignments designed to creatively disrupt your everyday life. That is all you need to know for now. All else will be revealed in time.

Society wants us to live a planned existence. The path of the wanderer is not this! The path of the wanderer is an experiment with the unknown. To be idle, to play, to daydream. The Wander Society offers us all a way to experience the joys and possibilities of unplanned time.

As a group we told of when we had ‘mistakenly’ found magical places, or the joy in finding links and coincidences by just taking the time to look and being open to allowing our curiosity to lead us at times, and how at times, the internet, amazing as it is with everything at the touch of a button, robs us in some way of the joy of discovery. So yes, maybe it’s OK to wander and allow ourselves to find joy in discovering things again.  The group found this discussion to be very inspiring as it opened up potential for, well, anything!

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