To Replenish a Sense of Wonder

by Min Li Chan

In a radio interview with Eleanor Wachtel of Writers & Company, Gail Jones reflects upon urban experience and its centrality to her novel Five Bells. The conversation is insightful and eminently quotable, with many passages that threw new light on my old urbanist ways. Jones urges us to be aware not only of a city's physicality, but also of its intangible atmospheres:
I'm very interested in psychogeography, and the idea that we must walk around our own place with an active intelligence and a degree of radical attention to what is there. ... We ought not be the flaneur who is idly and languidly consuming the sights of the city, we must look at its shapes, at its motions, attend to its sounds, corridors between spaces, the unexpected things looming up or falling away as we turn a corner.