Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wallace Stegner, The West, and the nurturing of great writers

Terry Tempest Williams conversed with Steve Scher on KUOW (don't forget to pledge your support to KUOW) this morning and is speaking tonight at Benaroya Hall as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures. Ms. Williams' new book is Finding Beauty in a Broken World. During her conversation with Mr. Scher, she spoke so eloquently and passionately about The West (Wyoming and Utah) where she grew up and still lives; about the environmental degradation being committed in the name of Energy, driven by the Darth Vader of all Darth Vaders...none other than Dick Cheney himself. In listening to Williams, I began thinking back to Wallace Stegner, who felt that 'place' was the beginning of every story well told, the undercurrent of all the woes and foibles of individuals. Stegner was a mentor of Williams and also Wendell Berry, whose 'place' is Kentucky. Not only have these writers dealt with issues of place, but also issues of race and prejudice. Wendell Berry in The Hidden Wound; Stegner in One Nation; and Williams in her current book where one of places/problems explored is Rwanda.

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