Tuesday, October 11, 2011

change course

Dave Eggers' 2009 non-fiction account of Hurricane Katrina, Zeitoun, is on my bedside table. I imagine Eggers' style of non-fiction – big on imagination and fabulation – is not up everyone's Strasse. He used it in What is the What to tell the story of war-torn Sudan. Is it a cheat? Not either hard-nosed reportage or breathtaking flight of fancy? I change my mind on this score chapter by chapter, sometimes page to page. I keep reading, maybe that's enough. But I'm getting sidetracked. Harold Fisk’s 1944 Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River tells the story of that mighty river that snakes its way through the Southern states. Fisk's technical drawings of the Mississipi, it's movement and changes wrought by ecological and geological forces are something else. Fisk must have possessed dogged persistence, a steady hand, maybe even a kind of madness though with no wikipedia entry for me to skim, I'm pulling an Eggers stunt of my own. All I know is that studying this map stirs something deep inside. Those twisting lines could be a graph of the course of life itself.

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