Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is Place Mystical?

I am reading The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman. Ever since I read Leaf Storm by Gabriel Garcia Marquez I am enchanted by this idea of a collection of short stories united by place. The place in Leaf Storm is Macondo, a fictitious town in Colombia. The place in The Red Garden is Blackwell, a rural town in Massachusetts.

Having the good fortune and misfortune of living many places--the good fortune of being exposed to variety and difference, the misfortune of leaving one a bit rootless--I find place to be mystical, i.e. every place on this great earth has its own unique convergence of energy.

You can't really sense place in a single visit, much as you can't always know a person after one conversation. But living in a place, over a period of time, you start to grasp its particularities, and idiosyncrasies, and how those effect the people who live there.

I have lived in the desert, I have lived near the beach, I have lived on the plains, I have lived in proximity of mountains…each place has its own identity, as definable as any person or character. I suppose that is why this concept…story of place…intrigues me so.

The first story in Red Garden leaves me thinking, as much of Alice Hoffman's work does. And I'm one of those animal lovers. For someone who is so wordy, it is perhaps their wordlessness that draws me to them. That and their eyes.

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