In the final hour of last night's last craft class, we went around the room, with excerpts of books that had been important to us. Among those mentioned: David Foster Wallace, Lorrie Moore, Edgar Lee Masters, W.H. Auden, Miranda July, Jay Wright, Jorge Amado, Brian Doyle, Steve Scafidi, Junot Diaz, Cynthia Ozick, John Dos Passos. As the clock neared 8:10, I talked a bit about the paragraph in Kathryn Davis's astonishing The Thin Place. Who could get enough of this writer? The passage below both freaks me out and delights me at the same time.
from The Thin Place
The world seems solid enough. The valley of the Kedron is an area of yellow sand and scattered shingle, glowing and shimmering with heat. And under the sand and shingle? Under the streets of a big city? Under the new spring grass of Bliss Hall? Aside from the obvious holes and tunnels made by animals and people, rabbit warrens, subway systems, missile silos, rumpus rooms, it seems solid enough, though in fact it's a set of interlocking pieces, sometimes bound tightly together and sometimes drifting far apart, its composition various, but in the case of Varennes, say, a blend of igneous rock, schist, and granite batholith, of dark slate and lignites containing a fossil flora of tropical nuts and fruits, the whole plate pressing down into the viscous mantle below--descending a few inches every thousand years like the Garden of Paradise in the fairy tale, only in the wrong direction. Nothing's really pinned in place. Everything's moving, up and down and back and forth. Moving pieces around a ball of fire.