The Hunt for the Words of T.S. Eliot

Two years ago during a critique at an art residency in Barcelona, one of our tutors mentioned that for years he was looking for a quote by T.S. Eliot. It was about exploration, and how at the end of it, we would have arrived where we began and will know the place for the first time.

After madly searching for months and giving up, I finally saw it on the title page of Keri Smith’s book, How to Be an Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum:

“We shall no cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
―T.S. Eliot, “The Four Quartets

(I have no idea why I’m bringing this up at all, but it ends a two-year treasure hunt for me.)

There are books that you feel were written for you because you live your life this way, and Smith’s book is one of them.

Here are some other quotes written in that are useful to current and would-be explorers:

“Everything has a value, provided it appears at the right place at the right time. It’s a matter of recognizing that value, that quality, and then to transform it into something that can be used. If you come across something valuable and tuck it away in your metaphorical suitcase there’s sure to come a moment when you can make use of it.” ―Jurgen Bey

“Look with all your eyes, look.” ―Jules Verne

“I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused, or following, sounds of the city, and sounds out of the city―sounds of the city day and night.” ―Walt Whitman

“The universe is the mirror in which we can contemplate only what we have learned to know in ourselves.” ―Mr. Palomar, Italo Calvino

“[The residual purpose of art is] purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life―not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.” ―John Cage

“Who is to say that pleasure is useless?” ―Charles Eames

“Sometimes a tree can tell you more than can be read in a book.” ―Keri Smith

“The closer man gets to the unknown, the more inventive he becomes―the quicker he adopts new ways.” ―Buckminster Fuller

“All books continue in the beyond.” ―Italo Calvino

“The imagination needs moodling―long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling, and puttering.” ―Brenda Veland

“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” ―John Cage

“Every experience is unrepeatable.” ―Italo Calvino

“No ideas but in things.” ―William Carlos Williams

“The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” ―Carl Jung

Thanks, Frank, for yet another book recommendation for me that is spot on.

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