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Interview with Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, like many of her books and essays, is a tapestry of autobiographical narrative, environmental and human history, art and literary criticism, personal reflection, and social and political commentary. Great writers have the capacity to evoke the atmosphere of a whole book in a single sentence. There are numerous sentences that you could pluck from The Faraway Nearby that operate in this way. Individual images, descriptions, myths and stories accrued by Solnit from a vast array of sources and experiences reach far beyond their contexts, feeding into the connective tissue that binds the book, but also somehow encompassing its concerns; the narrative is circular in its themes and structure and stories are returned to, threads picked up.

Nothing exists in isolation for Solnit, who has written about our co-dependency as communities in A Paradise Built in Hell, and the deep symbiosis between humanity and the natural environment – a recurrent theme in her books, including A Field Guide to Getting Lost and Wanderlust. To know the vast expanses of our world and to embrace the unknown and the chance or coincidental is to expand the reaches of the imagination beyond the boundaries of the self. These are relationships and philosophies that underpin Solnit’s environmental and human rights activism, and the arguments she makes for one’s responsibility to feel empathy for the plight of humanity and nature alike.

 

A native Californian and former art critic, Solnit first drew attention with her River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, a biography that traces the development of the American West – most notably those cultural goliaths Hollywood and Silicon Valley – to the famous wager made between Muybridge and Leland Stanford in 1878 that led to the photographer’s iconic black-and-white studies of humans and animals in motion. Solnit’s environmental and anti-nuclear activism have prompted forays into the Nevada Test Site, investigative explorations into the landscape and history of Yosemite, and the penning of Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West. Considered one of the few women to practice a kind of psychogeography, she has produced atlases of San Francisco and New Orleans that reinvent the form, approaching the fabric of urban space as palimpsests of environmental and human history.

 

I met Solnit at her home in San Francisco on the morning that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was overturned and days after the Democratic Senator Wendy Davis issued an eleven-hour filibuster against an anti-abortion bill in Texas. In person Solnit was self contained, stoic, and somehow distant; she spoke softly and fluidly, in elegant turns of phrase.

 

Q

The White Review

— In The Faraway Nearby, you describe an upbringing in which you were very isolated, and in which you read, in some cases, a book a day.

A

Rebecca Solnit

— I loved stories before I could read, and I can remember being a 3-year-old and 4-year-old who babbled and listened to stories. I had a huge appetite for narrative, and my mother said I learnt how to read in the first week or two of first grade, and then I was off and running. Books were these boxes of treasure, and reading gave me the key to them. I was just astounded that all of this was available, and that I could access it was so exciting. It was the only thing that I had, and the librarians loved me, because I spent a lot of time reading in libraries. At first I wanted to be a librarian because they live around books all day – that was the first semester of first grade – and then I realised that I wanted to be a writer, because that’s an even more intimate relationship with books. But just that discovery that books are these treasure boxes that you can open and be anyone and go anywhere and know everything – that was amazing. There are book people and then there’s everybody else. There are people who might read books and then there are people who are so enchanted by books and who live in that other world in which books exist.

 

Q

The White Review

— In that book you suggest that stories are necessary for survival – the tale of Scheherazade spinning a yarn to prevent the sultan from having his way with her, for example, and the analogous thread through the book, of women weaving textiles. This brought to mind the incredibly haunting image in One Hundred Years of Solitude of Amaranta weaving her own death shroud – another example that speaks to the idea of female self-determination.

A

Rebecca Solnit

— I think of Penelope weaving and unweaving her father’s funeral shroud. I had for a long time thought it was her wedding garment, but her suitors are pressuring her to marry because Odysseus will never come home, and she says, ‘As soon as I finish weaving this,’ and she weaves during the day and dismantles it at night. It’s as though the weaving is time itself, and she makes time run forward obediently under observation in the day, and in the night she makes time run backwards.

 

I’ve always loved that kind of control. It’s interesting, if you go back in literature, how compelling the metaphor of spinning or weaving of threads is, and we use them in a very abstract way: now a thread is a conversation by electronic means. I didn’t do much research specifically for this book, I was mostly just living and reading, but one thing I did do was to go to this place in the Sunset District in San Francisco that is a place for spinning and weaving and crafts involving wool and knitting, and I watched a woman spin. It’s really quite miraculous to see this big cloudy mass of formlessness turn into the thread of form. That’s been a metaphor for storytelling for thousands of years, and one that makes women the storytellers, which is not always how our metaphors are organised.

 

I heard Eduardo Galeano the other day announce that the world was made out of stories when he was at City Lights Books, as though that’s the most wonderful thing. There’s a real tendency to say, ‘Oh stories are wonderful!’ But the world is also made out of stories of female inferiority and male superiority, about what it means to be a man and a woman that can hem everyone into hetero-normative stories. There are stories about racial and gender superiority and inferiority, stories that justify war and violence and numbness and stupidity and destruction.

 

The Faraway Nearby is really a book that celebrates some stories, but that is also about looking very carefully at stories. In the very beginning it explores how stories tell us what to do, and how we think we’re the tellers of stories, but often, stories tell us what to do, who we can be, they imprison and poison us. The process of becoming free is learning to pause your stories and to tell your own stories. That’s really a crucial sense of stories in the book, even though it’s a kind of festive cornucopia of stories I tell about myself, that I heard from my friends, that I read, from fairy tales and myths to Che Guevara in the leper colonies, to that cannibal incident in the arctic, Mary Shelley and her generativeness. There’s both a celebration and a very sceptical inspection of stories in there.

 

Q

The White Review

— It seems to be a celebration of fluid states. You are constantly occupying spaces in between different stories and never settling on one thing. There is a restlessness to it.

A

Rebecca Solnit

— It’s funny listening to you and looking at your beautiful blouse because I think of stories as costumes that we try on. Maybe it’s important to know that you can take them off, that when you pause your story you’re naked and know yourself in another way, and that they can also be straightjackets and corsets and hobble skirts and foot bindings. Stories are all of those things and you better know what the hell you’re wearing, and it’s different in different cultures: in Saudi Arabia a woman doesn’t have so many ways to define who she is, but she can at least be critical of what the definition and limitations of femininity are. You know, living in the twenty-first century in Britain or the States, you have so much control over who you are and that’s something that’s developed more and more. We have more resources: you can dress in Buddhism, and you can dress in scepticism, and Jungian analysis, and phenomenological awareness, and in postmodern critique of meta-narrative, and you can take them all off and get naked again.

 

Q

The White Review

— Given the experiences you had growing up – the emotional abuse you experienced at the hands of your mother – you are tremendously optimistic about human nature in books such as A Paradise Built in Hell. Did that take some overcoming of demons?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— I had at least an ordinary quota of demons, maybe more than average, because I grew up being told that I was ugly, and worthless, and, literally, I was unable to speak in various ways. One of the things that The Faraway Nearby celebrates is that the voiceless child grew up to be heard and respected, and that now I get to tell my story. The hope comes out of a contrariness – when you’re told that you’re a failure and that you’re unlovable. I really am an incredibly stubborn person and I refuse to let those stories limit me, so I think that might be why I’m attracted to stories of underdogs and David versus Goliath, and resistance, and it’s also because I’m part of a family that raised me very far Left.

 

A Paradise Built in Hell is about counter-narratives, about the Left around me, particularly as the war in Iraq broke out in 2003. It’s about the stories people began to tell after we failed to stop the war, ‘We didn’t achieve anything, we’ve never achieved anything, we’re powerless, we’re hopeless, we’re doomed, blah blah blah.’ That story was so false, because it missed two things that many activists don’t get. One of those things is that we have tremendous power; the second is that we have changed history again and again, but in complicated, slow-moving, subtle ways, and sometimes sudden dramatic ones, and that’s a story that you need to have a long distance vision over time to see. It’s a story of victories that doesn’t get told much by what I sometimes call the Eeyore chorus of the Left. While a lot of people join the Left to find a counter-narrative to the mainstream, coming out of the Left, I wanted and tried to forge a counter-narrative to the Left’s most common stories.

 

Today the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, clearing the way for far more rights for same-sex people nationwide, and it’s a huge victory that was unimaginable twenty years ago. The world that I was born into was one in which most queer people lived deeply in hiding because their orientation was treated as criminal and mentally ill, despicable and disgusting. That long-term arc is amazing, but you have to have a sense of change over the longer term to see it. The past is a world in which women did not have human status, as far as I’m concerned. Look at marriage law, until a few decades ago: husbands had the right to beat and rape their wives. And property law – look at how much things have changed and opened up.

 

I was born into a world which had no language for the environment, no concern about it, because we hadn’t destroyed it so much, but we hadn’t defended it either, for the most part; a world in which colonialism was still thriving and racism was still rampant throughout the world, and wasn’t even being denounced and decried and outlawed. It was the law of the land in your country and mine and in most of the world. And everything has changed, but I don’t think of myself as an optimist. Optimists and pessimists think that they know the future. Optimists think that everything will be fine no matter what we do. Hope, to me, is thinking that the future is uncertain, deeply uncertain, and that there’s some way for us to influence it. It’s about embracing unknowability and uncertainty, which have always been important territory for me, and which I think give us an invitation to experiment and become and voyage and question, while certainty shuts everything down. The Faraway Nearby is a book about embracing questions rather than answers, so it’s very different from my book on hope, but it comes from some of the same premises, about telling others stories and embracing uncertainties.

 

Q

The White Review

— Do you ever feel moments of bleakness – about climate change, for instance?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— Oh yeah, God yeah. Violence against women, the climate, and some of the other political things that go on – the rise of the techno-security state. The post-military industrial complexes are really bleak, and living in San Francisco, which is overrun by Silicon Valley, and seeing its loopy libertarianism destroy a place I love very much and that has been one of the great generators of alternative visions of who we can be and what life can be – a great cultural place is becoming a bedroom commune for Silicon Valley. There’s lots of terrible stuff happening, but with all of it there’s wiggle room, so we might as well do something about it.

 

The Supreme Court just overturned these restrictions on same-sex marriage, which I prefer to call marriage equality because I think that when people of the same gender can marry each other it says that people can be equals within marriage and that liberates all of us, and liberates the idea of marriage for everybody. Today’s the day after the president’s pretty cool speech on climate – far from perfect, not nearly enough – and yet one in which the basic concepts that my climate activist friends put forth a couple of years ago were present. To see ideas like divestment introduced eight months ago travel all the way to The White House as well as more than 350 universities, is to see that we do have power.

 

Q

The White Review

— I worked for a nonprofit for three and a half years and sometimes felt that I couldn’t channel enough anger – that I wasn’t an angry enough person to be a successful activist. Is that something you channel?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— No, I think anger is horrible to be around, even when it’s your own anger, and I don’t think it’s a good motivator. It shuts you down, it makes you unpleasant to yourself and others. Think of Che Guevara, whatever his chequered career may be. He said, ‘A true revolutionary is moved by powerful feelings of love,’ – I like that better. I had a really interesting experience many years ago when I was working on depleted uranium and I took two depleted-uranium activists to a radio show hosted by a guy who embodies everything predictable and annoying about the angry self-righteous Left. They were trying to have a conversation, the activists, coming from a place of deep love and empathy and solidarity with the people that were affected by depleted uranium and afflicted with Gulf War syndrome – that mysterious illness of the era – and he was exulting in horrible and miserable things that proved his case against the government, which he hated so much. It clearly wasn’t an interesting and constructive way to be a human being, let alone to conduct an interview or a movement.

 

Anger can be counterproductive, it demonises people, it’s often motivated, not even by hate, but by self-righteousness, like you’re incurably wrong and bad and I’m all that is good. I think it’s derived from American Puritanism in many ways: ‘I’m the elect, and I have the one true way, and you’re the damned.’ It breeds intolerance and factionalism and divisiveness. I don’t think anger does any good, and in a way I don’t even think that it’s a real emotion. I think the real emotions are sadness and fear, and anger is a reaction to the real emotions, whether it is personal life or public life. Sadness and fear might be more interesting to recognise.

 

Q

The White Review

— You’ve written about the social body and the joy of participating in community, as well as the solitude of being a writer, and you are both a writer and an outspoken activist. Is there any difficulty in embodying those two different roles?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— Both of them want more than I can give them, so I could be a full-time activist and I could do nothing but write. Activism feeds me in many ways, it lets me hang out with passionate idealists, which is really fantastic. Hanging around only intellectuals and writers who are disengaged would be so dreary and dispiriting, though quite a lot of my friends are both. I get how some people see activism as a noble sacrifice that I and others engage in, but it’s a good way to live your life, it gives you a sense of principle and a sense of honour and purpose in how you live, a sense of participation in history, and it feeds the work.

 

As I often say, it’s the Nevada Test Site that taught me how to write. I went there as an activist and it was such a compelling, demanding place, a place where so many narrative threads overlapped, that to describe it I really had to have a stylistic breakthrough. I found that meandering historical voice that can be narrative, first-person reflection, cultural analysis, investigative reporting, all at once and seamlessly (seamlessly, another lovely sewing metaphor). Savage Dreams is about the Nevada Test Site, Yosemite National Park, and the nuclear wars that were supposed to be in our future but were actually happening at the rate of a nuclear explosion about once a month between 1951 and 1991, and the Indian wars that were supposed to be deep in the past but that were going on by other means all the time all around us in the US. It was a deeply political book, but also a personal book about figuring out who I was and where I was and what I wanted to do about it, tell about it. I learnt so much from living, researching and recounting the incidents. These things have stood me in good stead in my personal life as well.

 

I wrote Hope in the Dark right around the same time as A Field Guide to Getting Lost, and there was a moment before they were published when I looked at them and said to myself ‘Man, I’m like a crazy person, these books are so disparate,’ you know, this very encouraging book about public life and this very melancholic book about private life, and then I realised that both books were about coming to terms with uncertainty, and that they’re actually very analogous in embracing the unknown and the unknowable, the dark and the mysterious. There’s a paean to darkness towards the end of The Faraway Nearby as well as a lot of thinking about life in an emergency and the ways that connections are re-forged in crisis that applies as much to an individual illness or crisis as to a collective disaster, like a war or an earthquake or hurricane. My work is all tied together in myriad ways.

 

Q

The White Review

— Do you think there needs to be an aesthetic element to protest, such as in your experience at the Nevada Test Site? Or can aesthetics in protest and revolution be distracting from concrete goals? I’m thinking of the development of the field of social practice, which has created this new category in which the arts and activism are merged.

A

Rebecca Solnit

— There are many kinds of beauty and some are moral or lie in meanings rather than appearances. For public life sometimes that’s ‘when hope and history rhyme’, as Seamus Heaney put it. Much that is conventionally supposed to be pretty in our culture – environmentally devastating golf courses, exclusionary gated communities, ostentatious wealth amid desperation, clothes made in deadly sweatshops – is ugly in other ways, for those who have eyes to see. I like some of the social practice art I’ve come across, but I’m not paying that much attention to it. I’m most interested in where activism is most potent – the climate change movement, Occupy, indigenous uprisings from Idle No More in Canada to the Zapatistas and the new era in Bolivia. There are many beautiful things in these movements, for the eyes and the imagination.

 

Q

The White Review

— One of the tensions that you explore in your work is the longing to move into the ‘blue of distance’, and embrace the uncertain and the unknown, versus the urge to hang on to what you know, cling to what feels secure and stay close to your ideologies. How have you navigated that tension in your own life?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— I think a lot of my work lately, from Wanderlust at least, is trying to carve out more room for all of us. I talk about the privatisation that’s so afflicted almost every place in the world in the last twenty or thirty years. Economic privatisation is preceded by a kind of emotional privatisation where we tell ourselves we have nothing in common with each other, that we’re consumers not citizens. As the dear, departed Margaret Thatcher said, ‘There is no such thing as society.’

 

I feel like we all have a deep need, that I came to understand most thoroughly through the material of A Paradise in Hell, to be citizens and members of civil society, to have a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. That often means engaging in the larger world, and living in it and engaging with politics. I spend more time being introspective and I have many close and intimate relationships, and I love and cherish them, but that’s not all there is. The vastness of the world: I feel like sometimes you meet people and it feels like they’ve learned who we can be from television, at worst from sitcoms and novels which don’t give you a soul, don’t give you citizenship and don’t give you a sense that you’re a participant in these grand things, including the natural world, that don’t give you depth and breadth and height. It feels so reduced that even when it’s supposed to be funny and cheerful I find it profoundly depressing. So many Americans are politically disengaged, and I think it’s because their sense of self doesn’t include that larger arena; they’ve no sense of themselves as citizens and they’ve been given no awareness of how much their lives are shaped by politics. Often so many marginal people – because they’re queer, because they’re not white, because they’re oppressed in some way, because they’ve been criminalised – are deeply aware.

 

I grew up out West, and part of my refuge from the crummy suburban place I grew up in, which was fairly intolerant and anti-Semitic and had very limited ideas of what girls could be, and didn’t particularly value intellect, was to run away to the hills, and forge relationships with place, nature, and animals. We have all these relationships which aren’t just human, but that also sustain you. We don’t talk about that. Many Britons have it very deeply, and some people in the East, but when I go to places like New York I get claustrophobia when I meet people for whom the social is the only realm in which we exist. My childhood was always about going to places where there were literally no people around, and what made you function was your ability to find direction, your knowledge of animals, or plants, your knowledge of where north is and how to ford rivers and climb trees. There are all these other parts of yourself besides the social. Growing up I was a complete failure in the social, but horses didn’t know that and neither did landscapes, which were a refuge, as were books.

 

Then they became some of the most social places; some of the most wonderful things that I have done have been my activism with thousands of other people in the stark, harsh beauty of the Nevada desert, and working with my wonderful collaborators Byron Wolf and Mark Clint on re-photographing Yosemite and thinking through that landscape collaboratively. The social and natural aren’t in opposite directions anymore, they’re interfused. It’s not an ending, but it’s a kind of happy ending to the story of that really alienated kid.

 

Q

The White Review

— That symbiosis of the human psyche and the landscape is a thread through a lot of your work – are there landscapes other than Californian ones that have been formative for you?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— The American West, New Mexico, and Nevada landscapes, the California coast and hills and the Mojave Desert of south-eastern California. I learned so much from the Nevada Test Site and Yosemite National Park. Yosemite was really where I became hopeful when I went back ten years after Savage Dreams and saw how profoundly the place had changed. It was the best and most concrete example for me of how culture can shape politics and reality. An argument which had been radical in 1992, about the presence of Native Americans historically and in the landscape and why it mattered, had become so much more mainstream in 2001 when I returned. The National Park presented nature and culture and history in completely different ways through the signage than it had a decade earlier. The stories being told in the park had all been changed and I had played a little role in that.

 

I worry sometimes about making another wonderful friend because I have trouble already keeping up with the people I know, and I also feel that way about places, because when I love a place I want to go back and spend more time with it, and I now feel like I will never have enough time to spend in Iceland and Britain and Latin America and the American West, and I already have too much to fully cultivate, but other places have mattered, and for their own sake. Their differences teach me things.

 

I’ve been spending a lot of time in New Orleans, another place that I’ve fallen in love with, and people are so different there than in the Bay Area. It’s made me recognise how cool and distant and remote we can be as we wander around staring at our little devices. So many Bay Area people will look at you as if you’re a bit kooky and transgressive if you just speak to them without knowing them, whereas in New Orleans it’s the most ordinary thing in the world to issue a warm greeting or raise an amused question or make a remark to someone you’ve never met before in a street. So the gregariousness and openness of New Orleans and its celebratory nature, and the exuberance with which people live in public space has taught me something. You know, you see the mountain from the valley, and I understand this place through other places. Sometimes they give me things I don’t get here.

 

Q

The White Review

— There is something very in keeping with the American character in your writing – the generosity, the expansiveness and limitlessness, and this meandering voice. Do you think of yourself as an American writer?

A

Rebecca Solnit

— I am a second-generation immigrant: my mother’s grandparents were born in the four corners of Ireland, and my father’s parents on the Russian/Polish borderlands. The latter came over as adolescents, so they were always outsiders with accents. The dominant culture here is what I think of as the Protestant ascendency coming out of that Puritan tradition, which is where the xenophobia comes from. I’m a Catholic Jew with an immigrant background who doesn’t feel very bound by nationalism, and in a sense being half and half when I was growing up made me something of an outsider. Seeing these people who think this country belongs to them and who think that other people here – non-white and immigrant people – are interlopers is really kind of horrific, and another case in which privilege does not make you a deeper or a richer person, quite the opposite.

 

There are so many Americas. There’s New York City, the impossibly rich people who think society’s a pyramid and that they’re on top of it, but there’s also sainted Hindu taxi drivers there and my wonderful half-Italian relatives, and African-American culture, which has become more a part of my life because of New Orleans. What I love about my country, which does not have much to do with my government, which I don’t love so much, is that it contains everything, and when people try and summarise something about the United States, the opposite is also true.

 

We’re a country of immigrants, except that the Hopi have been in the same place for several hundred years, and so many of the south-west tribes have so many names for every little place. We’re the nation of Jim Crow and we’re also the nation of the Civil Rights Movement. We’re the nation of great feminism and great misogyny, as we saw last night in that epic battle in Texas where thousands of supporters of abortion rights came and supported a woman senator filibustering for hours. There are threads that I very much identify with, and threads that I’ve very much thrown myself in opposition to, but at least there are multiple threads, and I feel claustrophobia when I look at really homogenous countries. I’ve spent my whole adult life in multi-ethnic neighbourhoods in a very multi-ethnic city, and that’s my norm and my community: people of all orientations and races. I like it, it’s a more liberated space for me.

 

Q

The White Review

— Are there writers that you feel have been an influence in developing the meandering, hybrid voice you spoke of? You have often been compared to W. G. Sebald.

A

Rebecca Solnit

— Sebald arrived in my life after my style was fully formed. The Latin American writers have been really important to me, people like Pablo Neruda, Ariel Dorfman, Gabriel García Márquez and then Subcomandante Marcos, who is a political not a literary figure, but his writing is so lyrical and exquisite even though it’s manifestos on behalf of the Zapatistas. That continent of literature has demonstrated how inseparable the political and the lyrical can be, and that a full life can be and maybe needs to be both, whereas Americans are very fond of compartmentalising and Balkanising. A lot of American writers, who are good in other ways, are deeply disengaged and disconnected, and the books that they write are almost aggressively so.

 

Then there are other people like John Berger and Virginia Woolf whose lives just feel so full-spectrumed to me, Woolf in particular. Nobody’s ever written better about the subject of consciousness, both in the beauty of the language and the precision and understanding of it. She’s written these deeply political things like Three Guineas and A Room of One’s Own and Professions for Women – that wonderful essay in which she murders the Angel of the House. John Berger is one of the living people that I feel so connected to, because his work has been both engaged with deeply aesthetic and deeply political things. I was an art critic when I was young and there was such a sense of category when I was growing up, like this is art criticism and this is environmental journalism, this is poetry – that they’re all in their own rooms and they don’t talk to each other. But maybe you can invite them into a grand ballroom where they can dance together or maybe it turns out that it’s all one house and that we can move freely through it. The writers that have connected up what has often been severed have been really important to me.

 

Q

The White Review

— That diversity of interests is reflected in your work – you manage such a huge scope of topics and stories and fragments. How do you manage so many threads and how does it come together?
A

Rebecca Solnit

— You know, I’m friends with Michael Pollan and Bill McKibben, and look at the single-mindedness of their work with envy. Michael Pollan is all food politics and its environmental consequences, and Bill is 99.9 per cent climate. My mind doesn’t work like that. I’m interested in broad patterns that connect things together. That’s how I see the world, and it doesn’t let me have that kind of unifying focus. Even my book that was in one sense a biography of Eadward Muybridge was in another sense a meditation on the industrialisation of time and space, and the acceleration of everything in the nineteenth century. Muybridge was a perfect subject for me because he was a cipher present at the Indian Wars and the building of the railroad and these technological arrivals and social changes and changes of consciousness. This man’s life was really a pre-history of Silicon Valley and Hollywood – those two Californian empires of consciousness and change.

 

I just can’t do it any other way, would be the short answer. I feel lucky that people have embraced these complicated versions that I’ve put forth. But I also think that one of the not-so-great things of our time is increasing specialisation. I think that sometimes you need to see the world in the broadest way, and that the truth and meaning lie in different areas and across genres and lives and stories, not within one. I rely so much on good academic scholarship and I have so much respect for it, but the focus is often a kind of microscopic focus that allows somebody to have mastery over a topic. Walking – the subject of my 2001 book Wanderlust – is a great, sprawling topic, that’s really a hundred topics from human anatomy to gender politics in public space and romantic poetry. I think and pursue those larger stories, and happily people have travelled those routes with me, and for that I’m profoundly grateful.

 


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