Books and Workroom

“Even more than other writers themselves, their work is our guide; seen that way, the books on our shelves are volumes of an enormous atlas. Particular landscapes and routes through them are illustrated in exacting detail. Countless poems, stories, and novels have been based on or influenced by Homer’s Odyssey, including works by writers who, like Dante, never had the opportunity to read it. That epic poem has been an extraordinarily useful guide. Yet in the Odyssey, our hero often receives partial assistance: Get back on your boat, steer over there, but beware that singing; come ashore, you’re welcome here, but hands off the cattle, or else. This is the sort of guidance we can expect from other writers and their work. Precisely what to make of it, and how to make the best of it, is left to us.”

Peter Turchi Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer