Monday, September 9, 2013

The Faraway Nearby

Today's Menu: The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit

Drinking: sweet black tea

Thinking: I've always loved the work of R. Solnit and this book did not disappoint. It's the only book I managed to read this summer and it was like taking a long walk with an old friend from college, dipping back into that place of intellectual curiosity and adventure that I used to inhabit. 

It's been a week (well, month) of tending sick children pretty much 24/7 so this book was my respite, my exit and my ticket to both elsewhere and inside. 

You know what I mean? 

Here is one of my favorite paragraphs, particularly relevant to me as a fiction writer deeply conflicted about fiction: 

Listen: you are not yourself, you are crowds of others, you are as leaky a vessel as was ever made, you have spent vast amounts of your life as someone else, as people who died long ago, as people who never lived, as strangers you never met. The usual I we are given has all the tidy containment of the kind of character the realist novel specializes in and none of the porousness of our every waking moment, the loose threads, the strange dreams, the forgettings and misrememberings, the portions of a life lived through others' stories, the incoherence and inconsistency...There are other ways of telling.   

Or this: 

A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another. 

Good, right? May you someday find yourself enwrapped in these Scheherazade-esque, nested pages.