Terry Tempest Williams New Book!
Terry Tempest Williams in an amazing woman and one of my favorite authors – her writing is non-fiction. She has a new book out and of course it’s on the way to me from Amazon.com.
Because you know if I love someone or something …I love her passionately and have to know everything about her, have all her work – (are you there Melissa?!) and read, see, or listen all over again, and again, and again.
This is the description from Amazon…
In her most original, provocative, and eloquently moving book since Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams gives us a luminous chronicle of finding beauty in a broken world. Always an impassioned and far-sighted advocate for a just relationship between the natural world and humankind, Williams has broadened her concerns over the past several years to include a reconfiguration of family and community in her search for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human in an era of physical and spiritual fragmentation.
Williams begins in Ravenna, Italy, where “jeweled ceilings became lavish tales” through the art of mosaic. She discovers that mosaic is not just an art form but a form of integration, and when she returns to the American Southwest, her physical and spiritual home, and observes a clan of prairie dogs on the brink of extinction, she apprehends an ecological mosaic created by a remarkable species in the sagebrush steppes of the Colorado Plateau. And, finally, Williams travels to a small village in Rwanda, where, along with fellow artists, she joins survivors of the 1994 genocide and builds a memorial literally from the rubble of war, an act that becomes a spark for social change and healing.
A singular meditation on how the natural and human worlds both collide and connect in violence and beauty, this is a work of uncommon perceptions that dares to find intersections between arrogance and empathy, tumult and peace, constructing a narrative of hopeful acts by taking that which is broken and creating something whole.
And this is an exerpt from her book “Unspoken Hunger” – which is a book of stories and a fantastic introduction to her writing.
The next morning, I walked to the edge of the wash, shed my clothes, and bathed in the pumpkin -colored water. It was to be one of the last warn days of autumn. Standing naked in the sand, I noticed bear tracks. Bending down, I gently placed my right hand inside the fresh paw print.
Women and bears.
Marian Engel in her novel Bear, portrays a woman and bear in an erotics of place. It doesn’t matter whether the bear is seen as male or female. The relationship between the two is sensual, wild.
The woman says, “Bear, take me to the bottom of the ocean with you, Bear, swim with me, Bear, put your arms around me, enclose me, swim, down, down, down, with me.”
“Bear,” she says suddenly, “come dance with me.”
They make love. Afterward, “She felt pain, but it was a dear sweet pain that belonged not to mental suffering, but to the earth.”
I have felt pain that arises from a recognition of beauty, pain we hold when we remember what we are connected to and the delicacy of our relations. It is this tenderness born out of connection to place that fuels my writing. Writing becomes an act of compassion toward life, the life we so often refuse to see because if we look too closely or feel too deeply, there may be no end to our suffering. But words empower us, move us beyond our suffering, and set us free. This is the sorcery of literature. We are healed by our stories.
By undressing, exposing, and embracing the bear, we undress, expose, and embrace our authentic selves. Stripped free from society’s oughts and shoulds, we emerge as emancipated beings. The bear is free to roam.
If we choose to follow the bear, we will be saved from a distractive and domesticated life. The bear becomes our mentor. We must journey out, so that we might journey in. The bear mother enters the earth before snowfall and dreams herself through winter, emerging in the spring with young by her side. She not only survives the barren months, she gives birth. She is the caretaker of the unseen world. As a writer and a woman with obligations to both family and community, I have tried to adopt this ritual in the balancing of a public and private life. We are at home in the deserts and mountains, as well as in our dens. Above ground in the abundance of spring and summer, I am available. Below ground in the deepening of autumn and winter, I am not. I need hibernation in order to create.
We are creatures of paradox, women and bears, two animals that are enormously unpredictable, hence our mystery. Perhaps the fear of bears and the fear of women lies in our refusal to be tamed, the impulses we arouse and the forces we represent.