“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, September 23, 2011

Realist Magic Liveblog 11

Some books that I've written, I've been totally in charge. Two to be precise: Shelley and the Revolution in Taste (my first one) and The Ecological Thought (number four).

Other books have been more probing in nature, less certain: The Poetics of Spice, Ecology without Nature, and this one, Realist Magic.

Now the ones that came out as I meant them to were very gratifying. But I learned the most from struggling through the more experimental ones. And I'm still learning from Realist Magic. As I revise it, I keep figuring out what it's saying, and being quite surprised, in a good way.

I know that sounds absurd. But with a project as long as book, sometimes you aren't in charge of all of it. And, in a broader sense, why write anything at all if you know exactly what you're going to say?

Well, there is a reason actually: love. You want to communicate something to people because you love it. The Shelley book and the second ecology book were like that. But the other three are more primordial: they are about being willing to be surprised.

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