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GARY SNYDER

From The Practice Of The Wild, 1990

"The world is our consciousness, and it surrounds us. There are more things in mind, in the imagination than "you" can keep track of - thoughts, memories, images, angers, delights, rise unbidden. The depths of mind, the unconscious, are our inner wilderness areas, and that is where a bobcat is right now. I do not mean personal bobcats in personal psyches, but the bobcat that roams from dream to dream. The conscious agenda-planning ego occupies a very tiny territory, a little cubicle somewhere near the gate, keeping track of some of what goes in and out (and sometimes making expansionistic plots), and the rest takes care of itself. The body is, so to speak, in the mind. They are both wild. "

- From The Etiquette of Freedom

I hope part of BEGINNERS is about a human trying to figure out how to relate to an animal in an open, un-prescribed way. That desire has been fed by Mr. Snyder, so much more than a great Beat poet and Zen Buddhist practitioner; Snyder has such a deep and eloquent way of talking about our relationship to the non-human world, informed by decades of community activism work in Sierras, a youth as a lumber worker in the Pacific north west, and just years and years of being in nature. His book Practice of the wild is where I first learned that when someone asks where you live, the name or your town or city or your address is not the most accurate answer - but what watershed you are in. Honestly, it just occurred to me; in my romantic story, the guy takes the girl to the LA River on a date.

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