Unfolding Fern

I’m reading tonight at the Hartland Pubic Library, in Hartland, Vermont. Here’s a paragraph from my essay about writing this novel:

From the opening sentence, the book arcs as a metaphorical unfolding of a fiddlehead, from youth’s smallness to the generous flourish of a mature woman. Fenollosa writes, “A true noun, an isolated thing, does not exist in nature…. Neither can a pure verb, an abstract motion, be possible in nature. The eye sees noun and verb as one: things in motion, motion in things….” (10) In Hidden View’s opening lines, late winter sunlight glints harshly over icy snow, and cowshit tracked by boots erodes the pure white. A mixture of shit and beauty winds all through this book; opposites, as the yinyang symbol reminds us, do not exist as discrete entities in nature. The conundrum of how our fairest aspects are equally suffused with our foulest elements rises to the forefront as the novel climaxes. I imagined my characters as ascending, grappling birds. As they fought with each other – husband and wife – brother and brother – their interior natures battled, too: would decency and kindness prevail, or fear and its loathsome clutches? How would it settle out for Fern? For her husband? How would her love affair with her husband’s brother resolve?….

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Photo by Molly S.