In a recent blog post for the New York Times' Opinionator, Timothy Egan suggests that the Pacific Northwest gloom and rain is directly linked to its active creative life. Egan argues that our literary community thrives in minimal daylight. That Seattle authors are an odd type of plant.
And what does the rain do for us as readers? I'll confess that the weather has a tendency to inspire my Netflix queue... but I have been reading a lot, too! My winter has been marked by an appreciation for the lyric essay. Some of the best things I've read lately:
The Reenactments by Nick Flynn
Essays written by the poet/memoirist whose earlier work, Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City, was turned into a film starring Robert DeNiro. Flynn writes about the strangeness of watching his life turn into film, and blends anecdote with aesthetic musings on replication, detail and "life-like"-ness.
About a Mountain by John D'Agata
This particular book emerged from a controversial essay, whose "truthiness" spawned a vigorous debate between author and fact-checker (that debate is now a book, The Lifespan of a Fact). Regardless, About a Mountain is a wonderfully-constructed book about the city of Las Vegas, a young man's suicide there, and the mislaid plans for nuclear waste storage outside of it.
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
Nelson considers this book a work of poetry, and it certainly is. However, this small book built of short, numbered "propositions" leans on the blurred line of the lyric essay. Simply put, this is a meditation on the color blue. In reality, it is a book on loss, inquiry and desire.