One early reader, and a very smart one to boot, had trouble following parts of my 21st Century Bio. Maybe I should have said, “Well, it’s early in that century…”
But maybe I ought to have suggested that this 21st Century Bio be read as poetry…
I do value intelligibility. But — I tried to explain to her — sometimes one is groping and the reader is just behind you in the tunnel. And you don’t know the way, you’re struggling. You’re giving them as much guidance as you can but they have to be willing to work. In practice that involves following you rhetorically, letting the logic slip away.
That long paragraph in the bio, starting “Off the Track. Here in the woods,” owes something to Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale.”
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 40
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 45
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
And mid-May’s eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Okay, maybe that’s how I think of it. Here and in a number of other places in my writing. Places where I myself am exploring, don’t know what’s on the other side of the wall.
If you can — at those times — let up a little on the practical logic that you believe serves you so well in everyday life, let go of the strict requirements a little, let the letter of the law slide a bit, and give me a break!!