Diana Arterian Recommends...

“Like so many writers, the activities that once challenged and nourished me have been disrupted by the flood of chaotic daily news. Previously, I might have lifted a volume of poetry from my pile of unread books, chatted to friends about a manuscript, or attended a reading—and I would have been revived. While these kinds of engagements do still inspire, they often don’t provide the same charge they once did. What does revitalize me most now is the solitude of a natural space, a garden or a trail. When considering why, I think of bell hooks’s essay ‘Earthbound: On Solid Ground’ from her book Belonging: A Culture of Place (Routledge, 2009), in which she writes, ‘Humankind, no matter how powerful, cannot take away the rights of the earth. Ultimately, nature rules.’ In the essay, hooks is making an argument for black folks to return to rural spaces so that they may recognize the lack of power white oppressors possess in comparison to the earth. While I am a white person who has always lived in cities, this essay speaks to me. That which provokes my pain and worry is fleeting, as is my life on earth. Perhaps I shouldn’t give myself over to suffering’s power, as its source has little claim to what sustains me. Moving in nature invites me to recognize my smallness in earth’s vast purpose—while simultaneously experiencing wonder in a vine’s reach and twist and leafing. In short: I gain perspective, and tap into feeling. Words often move into the space made there.”
—Diana Arterian, author of Playing Monster :: Seiche (1913 Press, 2017)