Friday, February 25, 2011

"The only eye worth talking about"

Dennis Covington, in Salvation On Sand Mountain: Snake Handling And Redemption In Southern Appalachia:
At the heart of the impulse to tell stories is a mystery so profound that even as I begin to speak of it, the hairs on the back of my hand are starting to stand on end.  I believe that the writer has another eye, not a literal eye, but an eye on the inside of his head.  It is the eye with which he sees the imaginary, three-dimensional world where the story he is writing takes place.  But it is also the eye with which the writer beholds the connectedness of things, of past, present, and future.  The writer's literal eyes are like vestigial organs, useless except to record physical details.  The only eye worth talking about is the eye in the middle of the writer's head, the one that casts its pale, sorrowful light backward over the past and forward into the future, taking everything in at once, the whole story, from beginning to end.

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