Words to live by: Rebecca Solnit

“Apolitical is a political position, yes, and a dreary one. The choice by a lot of young writers to hide out among dinky, dainty, and even trivial topics—I see it as, at its best, an attempt by young white guys to be anti-hegemonic, unimposing. It relinquishes power—but it also relinquishes the possibility of being engaged with the really interesting and urgent affairs of our time, at least as a writer. The challenge is how can you not be the moralizing, grandstanding beast of the baby boomers but not render yourself totally ineffectual and—the word that comes to mind is miniature. How can you write about the obscure things that give you pleasure with a style flexible enough to come round to look at more urgent matters? Humor matters here, and self-awareness, and the language of persuasion and inclusion rather than hectoring and sermonizing. You don’t have to be a preacher to talk about what matters, and you don’t have to drop the pleasures of style.”
-Rebecca Solnit

I just finished Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust, which was an extraordinary history philosophy mishmash of the world held together by the thread of walking, and I hope to read more of her work.  I also wrote her a mini letter of appreciation (and am presently trying without much luck to find an address to send it to), something I often want to do in the midst of reading a particularly fine book but am often too distracted/embarrassed to do so.

I think I want to write poetry.  I said it, it’s out there, and now I’m accountable to it.  Scary stuff, because I’m not sure I’ve written more than two poems in my life that I’ll let anyone else read (excepting an assortment of angsty pieces from my adolescence that are an excellent source of humor these days), let alone feel proud of.  But writing of all sorts takes practice, I’ve heard 🙂


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