Nature, Naturalists and Naturalism [Reblog]

ninalyonnature
Photo credit: Nina Lyon

The latest monthly-or-thereabouts email newsletter from Paul Kingsnorth (author of Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto and the 2014 Man Booker-longlisted The Wake) included a link to his just-published review of Nina Lyon’s Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man for the New Statesmen. Before last night I had heard neither of Lyon nor the Green Man, but Kingsnorth’s review immediately had me googling both in a kind of unblinking fever. I then found my way to Lyon’s Bodley Head and Financial Times Essay Prize runner-up Mushroom Season, which is available for free on the iBook store.

The essay more than validated my interest in Lyon’s upcoming book (probably all her upcoming books), so much that I decided to reblog this piece on naturalism from her website (below) and to also review Uprooted following its release next month. I won’t attempt to summarize the piece (it will take only minutes of your time), but as with all of the work I share here, there are several ideas worth special mention for, merit aside, being especially germane to my present interests. Key among them, questions about the role of fiction versus of biography (a focus, also, of my prior reblog) and how these roles complicate when considering historical fiction.

As I will soon enter research for a short story set in a time and culture and on a continent I have never stepped foot, not only is the “fictive element” disconcerting, but so is—for my purposes as writer—the non-fictive element. It has now been, as of this month, a full two years since I have spent any time on fiction at all, and while a research (and malaise) intensive reintroduction isn’t likely to be a gentle one, the fiction writer and artist in me (the most “me”) has not made it much of a choice.

You, however, have a simple choice before you now; it involves a mouse, a trail, and—if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I suppose—mushrooms. If you decide on all three, do me a favour: let the Green Man know I’m on my way.

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