September 19, 2009

currently reading:

I'm in the middle of "The River Why" by David James Duncan (who also wrote "The Brothers K" which I have yet to read) and it is about fishing. I care as much about this topic about as much as I care about Nascar or physics or the Jonas brothers, but I am still reading. If you pay attention, Duncan has a sneaky sense of humor and richly multifaceted characters, and I can't help but like this book. Here's an example of why:

"A native is a man or creature or plant indigenous to a limited geographical area--a space boundaried and defined by mountains, rivers or coastline (not by latitudes, longitudes or state and county lines), with its own peculiar mixture of weeds, trees, bugs, birds, flowers, streams, hills, rocks and critters (including people), its own nuances of rain, wind, and seasonal change. Native intelligence develops through an unspoken or soft-spoken relationship with these interwoven things: it evolves as the native involves himself in his region. A non-native awakes in the morning in a body in a bed in a room in a building on a street in a county in a state in a nation. A native awakes in the center of a little cosmos--or a big one, if his intelligence is vast--and he wears this cosmos like a robe, senses the barely perceptible shiftings, migrations, moods and machinations of its creatures, its growing green things, its earth and sky. Native intelligence is what Huck Finn had rafting the Mississippi, what Thoreau had by his pond, what Kerouac had in Destination Lookout and lost entirely the instant he caught a whiff of any city. But some have it in cities--like the Artful Dodger, picking his way through a crowd of London pockets; like Mother Teresa in the Calcutta slums. Sissy Hankshaw had it on freeways, Woody Guthrie in crowds of fruit pickers, Gandhi in jails. Almost everybody has a dab of it wherever he or she feels most at home... But the high-grade stuff is, I think, found most often where earth, air, fire and water have been least bamboozled by men and machines."

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