Tuesday, May 17

marvels of adventure vs. clarities of home

here is the second round of this blog-all-dogeared-pages thing I've done once before. this time it's a nonfiction book called The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars, by a former colleague (he was the editor of Isotope back when I was one of his happy, grateful interns. that counts as colleagues, right?) of mine called Christopher Cokinos(look, he has a website).

reading a book by a person you know (however slightly) is a little bit layered. there are memories of that person waving at you from behind the words, which can be a little distracting. to say the least, it makes the book into a different experience. I loved it, though.

this post's title is adapted from something Chris mentions near the end of his meteorite-memoir: "The marvels of adventure are nothing beside the clarities of home." it is a sentiment that weaves all his homesickness and longing into a solid inequality--home wins. wherever your heart is triumphs. but later he revises his thoughts. the marvels of adventure and the clarities of home both have a place, and they need each other. such balances (and imbalances, also) are what life seems to be all about.

here--and I think I will let all these quotations speak for themselves this time--are all the other notable bits I have taken the liberty of retrieving from The Fallen Sky:
"It's reassuring, though, to be reminded that sometimes the beautiful does lurk." pg 67

"We can view the world scientifically while keeping in mind or heart these enduring metaphors of a sensual sky. Metaphors are like the movies. We go to them suspending our disbelief so we can be swept up in a fiction that enlightens. We've made the sky a kind of body to remind ourselves of function, of necessity, of ardor. Perhaps in doing so we give the sky itself a kind of immortality that we ourselves lack; we invest the sky with timelessness as recompense for our own passages." pg 138

"'Bliss' is a more interesting word than 'success,' I think, but success is an ever-talkative critic that can spur us to do more than we think we can." pg 203

"Walking, I stared into lit apartments the way I would stare at lit living rooms and leafed-out trees glowing like green brains from streetlamps, all those years ago when I went on long walks in my humid college town in Indiana, where I first mistook novelty for passion, stoicism for wisdom." pg 347

"...the south pole is less a pinnacle of exploration and more a weirdly moving testament to the human need to carry itself, its entirety, to every farthest point." pg 383

"...the deepening blue of the sky that colored belief and disbelief, that dared me to say that i was here and that a single life could come up against this like ice flowing into formations, the massive sweep of hese mountains and time and that a single life could follow some hunters of shooting stars and become one by driving across the sky's double..." pg 430

"... to speak one's feelings may be terrifying but it's infinitely preferable to the alienation that blossoms from long-held silence." pg 433

I need to find a copy of Chris's other book, Hope Is the Thing With Feathers. I am sure this Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds is just as finely written and passionately researched as his Intimate History of Shooting Stars.

hmm. what would I decide to passionately research and write about, I wonder, if I were to write a non-fiction book? by all means, start giving me suggestions.

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