Close Encounters with the Faraway Nearby: Rebecca Solnit

I was sitting at the bar in a room with high wooden ceilings from the 1920s. There was an elk head on the wall and words were coming out of it: “We barely survive catastrophe every day… the collision of two cells from which you began… unthinkable coupling… we live inside each other’s stories.”

It was speaking in a woman’s voice, that of a ventriloquist who can throw her voice into a dead elk as well as living human heads. The room was full of people. She can throw her voice into a book where it remains mute until someone opens the book and hears a rarified stream of consciousness — in this case, The Faraway Nearby (2013). “I digress because everything is connected….” I have a weakness for that sort of thing, or maybe it’s a strength, depending on your point of view. A spider web is very strong, relatively speaking, as it mimics a condition of intricate connections.

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