Friday, June 26, 2009

China: part 1: 'Work on Stuff that matters'.

I can't quite remember what I did to win this, but win it I did from Book Depository (where I buy a lot of my books) and I love it: a moleskin notepad. I particularly like the quotation from Tim O'Reilly on the front: 'Work on stuff that matters'

A small scrap of paper fell out when I opened it, and reading it I discovered that Bruce Chatwin ordered a hundred moleskins before he left on his travels to Australia - but they were not enough. Presumably he just wrote and wrote, and thinking about that made me remember what I love to do most - and that is travel and write... And it was as if some small flame burst into life inside me. I remembered travelling around Greenland and Patagonia writing down everything that happened in something similar - not quite a moleskin, but a bigger A4 version.

Then, an hour or two later, I remembered seeing a series of film reports by the NewsNight economic editor Paul Mason on China, which fascinated me - such different lives and scenery - and it was as if I was seeing all the scenes I'd imagined in Simon Winchester's book on Joseph Needham,

'Bomb Book and Compass' - and the flame grew higher. I think it was then that I realised that what I most want to do is to go to China and write, but at first I tried to ignore it.

I let it burn for a while, but all the time it grew hotter until I rang Hodmandod Senior and told him what I wanted to do, and he said I should do it. So I made my first step. It is just a small one but I feel I am on my way: I ordered a Michel Thomas course in Mandarin Chinese and a DK travel guide.

So thanks to the reminiscences of Bruce Chatwin, Paul Mason, Simon Winchester and Joseph Needham, I am going to go to China.

But it is the moleskin that started all this and especially the quote on the front: 'Work on stuff that matters'. So thank you very much Mark Thwaite (the man behind Book Depository): I am sure that you didn't intend this when you sent it, but I think you may have provided the kick I needed to stop moping around and actually do something.


Blogger Jud said...

Please send us many, many virtual postcards.

FYI - as of today the local library is searching for the two books of yours that are in the local system. Hopefully on my summer holiday I will reading and exploring the works of Clare Dudman.

Sat Jun 27, 02:52:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ooh thanks Jud! It is a bit nerve-wracking when you find someone is reading your books, but I do hope you find something in them that you like.

Sat Jun 27, 06:51:00 am  
Anonymous Stephen Curry said...

Bon voyages! How long will it take to organise the trip? Of course, you would blog as well as recording everything in the notebooks...? ;-)

Sat Jun 27, 06:58:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Stephen! I'm thinking of going in October - my younger son will be university then. I'm just trying to work out the best way to blog about it all now...

Sat Jun 27, 10:47:00 am  
Blogger Sally Church said...

That moleskine is a great idea and a useful place to keep all your research, thoughts, plans and preparations before you leave for China.

You might even need another one to collate stuff while you are there ;-). I love the little pockets they have at the back for keeping things together, like bus tickets etc.

Sun Jun 28, 06:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Mary said...

How fabulous, Clare! Getting an urge and following it. And Hodmandod Senior is to be commended for encouraging your passion. I'm seconding (and thirding and fourthing) the idea that you need to find a way to blog from China if you can manage it. (Can you do it some way through email? I thought Blogger had a feature to support this.) I'll be interested in following your travels vicariously.

Sun Jun 28, 09:31:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks,Mary. I have been obsessed with that problem all weekend. I'd really like to tweet, send photos and spend sometime on my blog, but not sure how I'm going to manage it economically - but going to try and find a way.

Sun Jun 28, 10:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Mary said...

Do you think you'll have problems with anything being blocked by the Chinese government as far as websites are concerned?

Mon Jun 29, 07:37:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Looks like I am, Mary! Not sure how I'm going to get round this yet! Good thing I'm not going until October.

Mon Jun 29, 09:53:00 pm  

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