18 August 2011

Jane Smiley Rocks

Jane Smiley is one of those writers I just can't get enough of -- her style conveys generosity, humor, intelligence, and a faith in the reader's ability to be all of that as well. Rereading Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Novel, which once again makes me want to read all the great novelists I haven't yet (I've read hardly any Dickens; a huge oversight or a deferred pleasure) and also to return to my five unfinished novels and make something of them.  I want to know how she moved from writing Thirteen Ways to her next published novel, 10 Days in the Hills. 

04 August 2011

Dark Mountain Issue 2

Yes, I'm a Dark Mountaineer.  Someone said in the Guardian that he wasn't "climbing the dark mountain..." Which misses the point of the Jeffers poem: we've already climbed the mountain of civilization, and now we begin to stumble downwards, in the dark. Today's economic news shows the point.

Dark Mountain aims at a re-thinking of the paradigms; not collapse, not apocalypse, not the end times. Rather, how does an unsustainable global civilization come unglued, and how might human beings respond to that unraveling --  creatively, psychologically, practically, spiritually?

A highlight of the new issue is Vinay Gupta's "Death and the Human Condition."
"Over-consumption and aggression to the planet and other people cannot go on indefinitely, and we with either transform or crash, but the age of the mall-dinosaurs is over and living in the truth strips out the lies. It does so without any bold statement, with no advert in the papers proclaiming that the end is night, but with the gentle and gradualist refusal to acknowledge other people's social fictions around consumption. It is the least we can do....

...We live in a culture which as made birth relatively safe, sex less mysterious, and death largely invisible, yet still from all three timeless points, the numinous shines.
   So, too, there is a strange numinosity around the death of capitalism, the survival challenges we pose the ecosystem, and the green shoots of a new culture which ache to climb the wreckage, and instead find themselves shadowed by dead-while-standing oaks."  (Dark Mountain, Issue 2, 78).

More at www.dark-mountain.net