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Continued notes for 9/23/10

We started off the class by listening to a country song (“The Long Black Veil”) that Solnit pin points to express and depict her own experience of “ irrecoverable loss and error.” Most class members felt the song to be over dramatic. Furthermore, as veritatemdelixi stated, she used that certain song of that particular genre, similar to how she used Tanya Tucker’s Delta Dawn in another part of her novel, to illustrate her own experience. This led us to the conclusion that “every experience can be told in multiple ways- it can be mapped in many different ways” (Anne). But when we talk about “mapping” something we automatically assume it is found. Therefore, “getting lost” becomes a paradox in which “becoming lost becomes the norm and then you don’t get lost anymore” (TyL). This goes contrary to the path that Solnit is trying to guide us in, in order to get lost, because loss is supposed to lead to discovery, from her perspective.

We continued the conversation then to discuss Solnit’s opinion on artists and scientists. Although one person believed   Solnit to be dismissing artists, the class concurred that in fact, Solnit is for the artists, for the artist explores the unknown more than science does. From here we went on to discuss images of ruins. Thinking of images of ruins, through the “getting lost” lens, we were left with a question as to what ruins teach us about loss. Some felt that ruins are alluring because you want to imagine the unknown, you want to imagine what used to be there, but you can’t seem to because a ruin is supposed to be inhabitable, that is the definition of ruin. Some felt it to be horrifying, for thinking that a place of ruin once had life seems inconceivable in the sense that it is inhabitable. If it is not rebuilt than how can life exist there anymore. This reminded me of the story behind the Buffalo Creek Disaster of 1972. A coal mine slurry impoundment dam ended up exploding, ruining the lives of the people that inhabited the small village in Virginia, and flooding their entire town. Unlike the disasters that occurred in New York on 9/11 or with Hurricane Katrina, the people of that village were incapable of regrouping there and living there because the disaster had been too much for them. They realized that they were being controlled and manipulated by the Coal Mining Company, and therefore they were lost; they lost a sense of who they were, because it was as if they were puppets being controlled by their master. This I think elaborates on SandraGandarez’s statement: “my opinion on ruin would be based on how it became ruined. If it was ruined by age, that’s different than destruction.”

So what is fact or fiction? We shape it and construct it to fit into our mind and the physical aspects of life. Can we ever be lost if even our dreams are constructed? Can something be fact in your mind and fiction in the physical world?



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