Paul Theroux Philosophical Writing Analogies: My Biggest Inspiration

While Jack Kerouac was my biggest inspiration for travel writing, my most memorable evocative writing quotes are by Paul Theroux. I read the Old Patagonian Express while solo travelling in South America in 1994, so it was particularly poignant. It didn’t inspire me to go to Patagonia; I only went to the near-side of Foz do Iguazu in Argentina, with landscape views on the Brazilian side.

Image result for Foz de Iguazu


Paul Theroux Express quotes such as these were what I aspired to in my deep thought philosophical writing; like travelling, I think I was searching for that place in my mind all my writing life, and reached it during XaW Files:

“A slow feeling of gathering sadness as each familiar place flashes by the window and disappears and becomes part of the past. Time is made visible, and it moves as the landscape moves.”

“And yet on that bench at Jacobacci, I was glad I had left everyone else behind. Although this was a town with a main street and a railway station, and people with dogs and electric lights it was near enough to the end of the earth to give me the impression that I was a solitary explorer in a strange land. That illusion (which was an illusion in the South Pole and at the headwaters of the Nile) was enough of a satisfaction to me to make me want to go forward.”

My Writing Analogies

Maybe Theroux’s influence was strong in my mind when I wrote my Daily Commute Route station-waiting writing analogy. I thought I’d included it in XaW Files, but just realised I wrote it afterwards:

Daily Commute Route

Writing is like waiting for a train

at a station you’ve visited before

one with many platforms

and a timetable

but the trains

don’t always run to time

or from the planned platform

and sometimes don’t go

where you originally wanted

but you enjoy the ride

wherever it takes you

knowing the journey

is more important

than the destination

and that it is vital

to try and absorb

learn and remember

what you experienced.

I’m so generous with my writing; or remembering the greenYgrey philosophy: foolish, or too eager to impress!; that I was going to provide more examples of my analogies, but will save them for another day, as I think that is more than sufficient to be going on with…

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