DEPENDING ON YOUR definitions, this particular essay has taken three months to write and the book of essays that it’s a part of has taken – again, depending on your definitions – five years. Saplings grow far more quickly than my manuscript has. The production timeline of your average physical book is easily long enough for an entire ecosystem to be destroyed. This should make me write faster, but in fact the opposite has happened.
Writers love to wrestle with trees – so rich are their metaphoric possibilities, so soothing is the light that filters through their leaves. I once stood under a grove of horse chestnuts in London’s Kew Gardens as pollen rained down through shafts of sunlight and thought to myself, Ah, this is what Philip Pullman calls Dust. Then, having had that thought, I lay down under one particular chestnut, or should I say within the chestnut, for its low boughs... Read more
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