Notes on writing, reading, publishing and life
The Things Worth Writing About
The poet Jack Gilbert said the only things worth writing about were: “Love, death, man, virtue, nature, magnitude, excellence, evil, suffering, courage, morality. What is the good life. What is honor. Who am I.“
So what about women? I suppose many subjects I would add to the list fit under virtue, magnitude, etc. But only a man would still use “man” in that way.
I’m reading a book about women in 17th century England that starts off with an intro in which the author says a “distinguished man” asked her, “Were there any women in the 17th century?”
This is the thinking we’re still up against today. This is worth writing about.
Surrounded by Snow, He Imagined
This is what Rudyard Kipling did: “He traveled the world for a few years and finally settled in Vermont. And it was there, in a rented cottage surrounded by snow, he began to reimagine the India of his childhood… “
I had no idea Kipling lived in Vermont, but one of my happiest writer memories is of one January I spent living in a converted chicken coop with a woodstove in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. It snowed and snowed and I wrote and wrote and chopped wood out of the frozen woodpile. A perfect setting for recalling the sights, sounds, and smells of India, although I was writing about something else.