Notes from the Field
My three recent books all started with an overarching idea, followed by months of detailed observation, research and writing. Since...
My three recent books all started with an overarching idea, followed by months of detailed observation, research and writing. Since the arrival of Covid, I have been working the other way round. Without setting out to find anything in particular, I have often found myself witnessing, or noticing, some fragment of nature, a moment in time perhaps, that becomes the start of a stream of ideas whose destination is unknown – until I get there.
So far, a few mid- and long- form essays have resulted, some of which have been or will be published this year. Some of the Notes from the Field are simply collected together for future use, or no use at all. Some are literally notes from a particular field: the one shown here, which is next to where I live and where I sometimes take a chair and computer to work outdoors. All the notes are just a few lines long, but the resulting product is as long as it needs to be. Timestream started with a few seconds’ encounter: the angelic image of a kestrel hovering over a stream at the edge of the field. Four lines of field notes became a 4,500 word meditation on our relationship with water, published in an on-line anthology here.
Notes from the Field may be recompiled in an anthology of their own in the future. In the meantime, they are the basis for a new talk at least.