Monday, September 17, 2007
As I look through the photographs, I see an Imperial eye. In China, I searched for what to me seemed "exotic." From Paul Theroux's introduction to "Exotic Postcards: The Lure of Distant Lands":
"It goes almost without saying that the exotic notion is a Western dream. . . . The exotic dream, not always outlandish, is a dream of something we lack, something we crave. It may be the naked islander, or the childlike odalisque squinting from her sofa with her hands behind her head, or else a glimpse of palm trees, since the palm tree is the very emblem of the exotic. It is also the immediately recognizable charm of the unfamiliar. . .l. But always the exotic is elsewhere. The word itself implies distance, as far from the world of home and scheming as Prospero's island of magic and exile is from Milan. It is the persuasive power of travelers' tales, the record of enormous journeys of quest and discovery; the heroism of these returned travelers is the glorious note of enchantment in their stories."
I went to China seeking something exotic.