by Richard Quinney
Borderland Books, 2008
|Reading the four
essays and prologue in this volume of nature prose is like taking a
stroll in the woods with a literary philosopher whose penchant for
rural life informs every step and observation. These rambling
conversations draw inspiration from the transcendentalists Emerson and
Thoreau and the naturalist Gilbert White in their respect for the
lessons and wisdom that can be drawn from nature.
||"Each life is a
universe unto itself. A big bang. Sperm collides with egg. There you
are," Richard Quinney explains. "Then a lifetime of galaxies and stars
and planets and asteroids flying and orbiting in a vast and expanding
space. More dark matter than light. Shiva dancing. A great mystery. And
a beautiful morning it is this day. I keep notes along the way. Now and
then an accounting and some reflecting."
If reality is enough, why is there the desire to write - and to read - fiction? Perhaps fiction is another way of trying to grasp reality. Of course, all narratives are, from beginning to end, fiction. As soon as a writer begins to describe even what is going on in the concrete moment, a new reality is being created. The writer in the elementary act of selecting a sbject is imposing an order that is at once a remove from the even that is being recorded.... We constrct the realities by which we live our lives.
Notes," illustrated with his black-and-white photographs of rural
Wisconsin, combines the ethereal reflections of literature with the
palpable realities of nature observation to produce a record of the
scholar's life at this point in time. "With pen in hand and camera at
my side, traveling between town and country, I make my notes and live
this day. One world at a time, here on earth."