Thoughts on Being Lost


Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a reading at one of my favorite bookstores (Malaprop’s) by one of my favorite authors: Sarah Addison Allen. She was reading from her newest book, Lost Lake, which came out last Tuesday. (For more details on Sarah’s actual reading, see the post on my book blog.) During the reading, she spoke candidly about how she got “lost” when she was diagnosed with cancer, and she returned to this theme of lost-ness at several points throughout the evening. It got me thinking about the various ways in which people can be lost.

Lately I’ve been feeling a little lost myself — not in nearly the same way that Sarah spoke of, but in that entirely different and unique way that comes from unearthing your roots and transplanting yourself hundreds of miles away. No matter how rich the earth or how sweet the sunlight, it’s still a disorienting experience. Oddly enough, I find that anytime I travel a lot or move (or do both, as I have done this past year) I become strangely unhitched in those moments between sleep and consciousness. It’s a bit hard to explain, but essentially there’s that moment when you first wake up in the morning…and some days you’re slightly confused because maybe you’ve had a particularly vivid dream or you’re staying in a hotel and don’t recognize your surroundings upon first opening your eyes. Well, in times of significant transition in my life, I find that sense of disorientation and confusion is there to greet me consistently upon waking each morning. It’s not unpleasant, actually, just curious. As if there’s some part of my brain that, like the part of your brain that controls languages, connects all my different locational experiences to one another so that when my mind’s unfocused they all fuse together.

As I said earlier, this is a very different kind of lost-ness than what Sarah Addison Allen was discussing when she shared her experiences with an audience of rapt readers. But it’s how I’m experiencing lost-ness right now: as a sense of drifting, of having come unmoored. Maybe this is why every photo I edit lately is full of soft light and glowiness — that fuzzy-around-the-edges look is how I conceive of the world right now. So I guess I’ll continue to try to stretch my roots deep into the earth here in Asheville’s lovely mountains…and in the meantime, I’ll do my best to enjoy my own sweet sense of disorientation.

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