Maybe we writers write because, at the bone of it, we’re eternal students. We thrive on learning, on discovering new angles from which to view the same old things: Love, Death, Time, and God. (After all, a metaphor—the writer’s version of a Vegas marquee—is simply a writer’s tool to get you, the reader, to see life differently.) But, to spend all one’s time thinking about Love, Death, Time, and God, and pondering how to write about Love, Death, Time, and God, and actually writing about Love, Death, Time, and God—well, that’s another thing entirely.
“What if, looking at those ducklings, we saw not some reflection of human bravery, some mental state for which we already have the words, here and now, in our gas-guzzling postindustrial lives? What if, instead, we recognized the ducklings’ abandon, as Wendell Berry calls it—the wordless, mindless, absolute passion with which the need to leave the nest has been not merely accepted, but embraced?”
I have to confess I used to avoid going to second-hand stores – not because I’m a snob, but because I’m sort of a hypochondriac. I always imagined those places teeming with viruses and crawling with germs. But my recent move to Ann Arbor as a grad student forced me to evaluate living a more practical lifestyle. It didn’t hurt that the “vintage” fad took some of the stigma out of shopping at thrift stores. But above all, I discovered that millions of germs do indeed lurk behind many of the “re-use” shops – it’s of the strain called fabula ideas.