Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Featured, fieldnotes |

This was the month of reading The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit. I have read a few of her books, and always start them with enthusiasm (I’m interested in the same stuff she is!) and gradually feel distracted and deflated. I figured out what it was this time, pointed to by a line in the book: “Like a lot of visual artists, she mostly plunged into the difficult books through which you hack your way slowly.” That line describes my taste in books, but I had always attributed it to my mild dyslexia (if it’s going to take me months to get through a book I want it to be worth the time). Solnit’s connection feels right, though. I read for texture and flavor and bits of ideas far more than for plot or characters, and I enjoy feeling lost in a sea of words that are inviting me to connect into a whole. And that way of absorbing art makes more sense for encountering and absorbing visual art more often than it does reading a book. Solnit’s books are documents of her thought process going through the world, reading meaning into things she finds along the way, and making connections. For me, the joy of reading a book is making those links, so reading her books feels a bit like opening the in-flight magazine to find the crossword already filled in. I can learn from the insights, but the fun and work of discovering them has already been done. As I was finishing the book this morning, I closed it to find the white cover set off by a fan of pink sticky notes marking bits of text that crystalized a thought. Her words are always lovely, and the time she spends with these ideas leads to a clarity that I rarely achieve in my own muddled ideas. One of those stickies marked this passage: Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone. Or rather writing is saying to the no one who may eventually be the reader those things one has on someone to whom to...

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