Reading, writing, and the life of the spirit
The wild path

Writing from the center

Dawnlight through the trees

From an interview with Terry Tempest Williams in The Bloomsbury Review (1991):

"My writing comes out of my life. Every one of my books has come to me as a question. In the case of Pieces of White Shell, I asked, 'What stories do we tell that evoke a sense of place?' That book, of course, focused on traditional Navajo stories and beliefs. In a very real way, the Navajo inspired me to return home, to look within my own culture, my own stories. Coyote's Canyon was an experiement in weaving such stories together. And in Refuge, the question was simply, 'How does one find refuge in change?'


Oak elder

"The next question I would like to ask," she continues, "will have to do with an 'erotics of place,' as it relates to our love, or lack of love, towards the natural world. In other words, how does intimacy with each other, or lack of intimacy, affect our intimacy with the land? Like death, our sensuality is something we're afraid of and so we have avoided confronting it. I am interested in taboos, because I believe that's where the power of our culture lies. I love taking off their masks, so we can begin to face the world openly. I believe that will be our healing."

The animal guide

"The writers who touch me, who move me, are the writers who are generous not just with with what they know, but also with what they don't know....It's that kind of honesty, that generosity of spirit that I ask of writers. And it's difficult, because you have to be thoughtful, taking nothing for granted, and you have to be willing to risk everything, to write against your instincts."

Preparing to make the leap

Speedwell in shadow

"I believe there is an unspeakable joy in being fully present and responding totally to the moment. For me, that's where joy dwells and feeling lies; in fact, that's the well of all strength and wisdom -- knowing all we have, all we will ever have, is right now; that's the gift."

Into the river of skyThe passages quoted above are from A Voice in the Wilderness: Conversations with Terry Tempest Williams edited by Michael Austin (Utah State University Press, 2006) -- a book I often return to when the world seems heavy and my heart needs a lift. The interview was conducted by David Petersen in 1991. The poem in the picture captions is from Poetry (April 2016). All rights reserved by the authors.