Column: A place isn’t just a place

Brown trout

I saw a dude reading Jack London at a coffee shop in Juneau. The words of London, Robert Service, etc. inspired by the Alaska/Klondike of the past, have endured for generations, so it makes sense that people would be motivated to read those words near their geographic origin.

However, I judged the guy. I thought it was cliché to think the practice of thinking a deeper appreciation for the words could be attained just by being near where someone wrote them.

I’ve grown up a lot since then and have myself become maybe a little romantic, nostalgic or susceptible to the gravity of a place. I’ve learned that though the original context has long since faded, geography alone can provide better understanding and appreciation.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi, I just found this article in the Empire (I’m from Juneau) and wanted to say how much I liked the article. I blog about literary inspired travel destinations (at A Suitcase Full of Books) so I’m all for reading books related to places. I just took a trip to Concord, MA to see if Walden Pond was all Thoreau thought it was… sadly it’s a busy place these days. But walking through the houses of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne did inspire me to try and read some of their writings. So I would argue also that sometimes visiting the places can make perceived tough reads less intimidating.

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