Damon Falke is an American writer living in northern Norway. His work includes, among others, By Way of Passing, Now at the Uncertain Hour, and Laura, or Scenes from a Common World. Much of his work considers relationships between memory and the present, particularly as they are expressed through objects and landscapes. In addition to writing, he has lived and traveled broadly, both as a traveler and a sportsman. Greece, Nepal, Tibet, Tasmania, Hungry, New Zealand, Slovenia, East Texas and the American West have, in different ways, touched his work. Concepts of place and places themselves are essential to his writing for what they speak of history and of the stories we keep. His half-acre in the far north is a good location for finding these things and for looking out of the kitchen window.
I have been shifting through and moving around piles of books. Here is a partial list: The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan, A History of American Tonalism: 1820-1920 Crucible of American Modernism by David A. Cleveland, The Selected Poems of Tu Fu, translated by David Hinton, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame—which remains invariability if not at hand then somewhere close—Writings on Art by Mark Rothko, The Riviera Set 1920-1960: The Golden Years of Glamour and Excess by Mary S. Lovell, and The Angler’s Coast by Russell Chatham. There are piles of books in my home, including those piles of books in my modest library. There are piles because I have more books than there are shelves on which to put them. I read an essay recently about what it means to have more books than one will ever read. It means, the author implies, that the possessor of so many books is someone of insatiable curiosity and that the number of books suggest a willingness to fill-in the gaps of ignorance. As I often do when reading such extravagant claims, I think of the last line from The Sun Also Rises. “Isn’t it pretty to think so.”