Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Passage by Andy Goldsworthy

Okay, this is an art book not a work of fiction, but I'm a little in love with Andy Goldsworthy who makes art in (and out of) nature and then photographs it. When I was living in NYC years ago, a friend of mine took me to a lecture he gave and I have always rememembered it as one of my favorite New York moments. Then recently I watched the documentary "Rivers and Tides" and had an honest-to-goodness epiphanic moment when Goldsworthy was building a stone wall snaking in and out of a line of trees. He was talking about how the "art" would change over time as the trees continued to grow and took over the wall. The trees would outlast the wall, he said. Now my novel-in-progress has the in-progess title "Wood for Stone" which comes from the idea of land being cleared and walls being put up around it -- memorializing stone walls replacing living wood. The whole mood of my novel (in my mind) was coming from this image of dead stone outlasting live wood. But the second I realized the wood would always win--that stone walls do crumble--it shifted the feeling I had for the book and made it much more of a book that I wanted to write. Life wins. Yea! So I can't promise that Passage, which is a beautiful book of photographs and excerpts from Goldsworthy's diaries, will matter to any other fiction writer--but it--and the documentary--did to me.

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