By Michael Austin
Along with her designated, impassioned voice and known felicity of language, Terry Tempest Williams talks approximately wasteland and flora and fauna, position and eroticism, artwork and literature, democracy and politics, family members and background, Mormonism and faith, writing and creativity, and different matters that interact her agile mind—in a collection of interviews accumulated and brought by way of Michael Austin to symbolize the span of her occupation as a naturalist, writer, and activist.
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Extra resources for A Voice in the Wilderness: Conversations with Terry Tempest Williams
But I think that we need to pay attention. jt: I want to go back to your grandmother, Mimi. You begin your book, An Unspoken Hunger, by mentioning Mimi and seashells. And you also share Mimi in your other book, Refuge. So I want to talk about her. Tell me the story of Mimi. ttw: Well, I carry her with me. And, as you know, she is a powerful mentor of mine. I say ‘is’ because, even though she died in 1989, her spirit is still present, as I think all of our grandmothers’ spirits are with us, living or dead.
That’s why it’s so much easier if everything remains an abstraction. ” Let’s keep things simple. I once had a friend who was a rancher. We’ve only spoken twice in the last couple of years, because each time we talk now he yells at me for being a nature writer. I’m not sure how to respond. We’d been friends for seven years. We all feel schizophrenic. Here is a friendship that is being split apart because of an assumed ideology. How do we begin to break down these barriers? What candles can we light for one another to begin the healing?
It does not speak well for us as a people that we even have to make the distinction between what is erotic and what is not, because an erotic connection is a life-engaged, making love to the world that I think comes very naturally. Eroticism, being in relation, calls the inner life into play. No longer numb, we feel the magnetic pull of our bodies toward something stronger, more vital than simply ourselves. Arousal becomes a dance with longing. We form a secret partnership with possibility. The moment I realized that life is sexual, that death is sexual, in relation, was when Mother was dying, in those last hours.