Thursday, February 09, 2006

Getting Lost

Some time ago, I read an essay in a Harper's that Robert lent me. I don't remember if this essay, by Rebecca Solnit on "The Blue of Distance," was what he had recommended or whether it was something else, but the writing stunned me. I sought out and bought her book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. It went on the pile of books beside my bed, I lent it to someone who kept it for months and "couldn't get into it." It got back-burnered as I started my alphabetical trek through my poetry shelves. (It's February and I'm at Bishop.)

But I picked it up and read it obsessively the last few days, the way I used to read everything but, distracted by one responsibility or another, I scarcely can read any more. This book... this book... I don't know what to say, what can do it justice or encompass all my thoughts about it. Just. Read. It.

The book is prose but has the effect of poetry, of the best poetry. It stuns, it sits there in me. I want to steal its words and have them come out of my mouth. The book is composed of chapter essays that inter-relate and tie together. One follows the stream of her consciousness, but the stream is always interesting and relevant and even when it is most personal seems to focus out at the reader as much as it comes from the self. It's also about nature and the land, love and death, art and other ways of thinking. So I've probably made it sound boring as all getout, but it's not ever boring.

I could quote from anywhere in this book to show you what I mean. Here are the opening sentences of the section called, "Two Arrowheads:"
Once I loved a man who was a lot like the desert, and before that I loved the desert. It wasn't particular things but the space between them, that abundance of absence, that is the desert's invitation...."


I better get going if I'm going to get to Robert's reading (details here under news ---->).

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