“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir
In 1911 Anna Botsford Comstock, Professor in Nature-Study in Cornell University Emeritus, published HANDBOOK OF NATURE-STUDY for Teachers and Parents. The book is based on a series of leaflets intended to re-introduce children to the workings of the natural world.
An agricultural depression in New York State in the 1890s created an influx of of people coming to New York City in search of work and assistance. The Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor wanted to know, “What is the matter with the land of New York State that it cannot support it’s own population?”
Upheaval (I want a much bigger word, but I’m working on dialing shit back a little) anyway…..upheaval from the presidential election and regular life sent me reeling for solace in books. THE FALL OF THE KINGS by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman is a gorgeous, intricate fantasy novel about many things, including sacrifice and connection to the land.
“Spring came to the city. The days were growing longer. The snow had melted from all but the darkest and most stubborn of corners. Crocuses sprang from muddy crevices and, in back gardens, tender leaves began tentatively to unfurl. Fellowship examinations loomed, turning students’ attention to their studies. Basil St. Cloud cut the number of of his lectures from four a week to two, and released his students from their archival burrowing.”
Writers write for all kinds of reasons. Most can be distilled to a need to figure something out: about ourselves, about the world, about why a particular thing is. We often have a core story, a question or a theme we return to again and again.
For two years of regular life scorched earth I didn’t write anything new. Even if I could have, what the hell would I write about? I wasn’t the same person. Nothing was the same. How could my core story be the same?
All of my books are about connection, whether that connection is between two lovers, or a woman finding her true self, or the importance of understanding that everything is connected to everything else.
Everything changes, nothing stays the same. I am not the same person I was three years ago, and very likely neither are you.