Discovering an Author and Handling Disappointment

There’s this author by the name of John Muir. Heard of him? Probably not. When I read about him on the Library of America website, Story of the Week, I had such high hopes. I thought He’ll be my next favorite author. Move over Steinbeck,Fitzgerald and Cather (yeah, I’m big on American writers). All the signs pointed to FAVORITE.

  • According to LOA, he was the next Thoreau.
  • He loved nature and I love nature. One of the first serious things I ever wrote was an Ode to Water.
  • “He rebelled by becoming a vagabond, and by asking powerful questions about the orthodoxies of his day and ours, especially the notion that people stood at the center of the universe.” And that just screams awesome.
  • He shares my belief in worldly interconnectedness. And by that I mean that everything in the world is related to everything else.

But then I read his short story, A Wind-Storm in the Forests, and it dawned on me that… nature writing kind of sucks. It was a terrible epiphany — it didn’t feel good at all. It was as though I was tearing off a part of my identity.

Here’s an interesting tidbit though… I really enjoyed reading his story at first. I thought Wow, what powerful writing, what descriptive language. Thing is — that kind of language and writing style is very distinct and too much of it gets boring fast. It’s like when you hear one note for an extended period of time. You’ll either get annoyed or you’ll stop hearing it all together. His nature descriptions were wonderfully written but they needed to be weaved in with plot, with people, with… more than just setting. I couldn’t even concentrate long enough to find out what the plot was. Ugh, it was so sad.

But now I must pick up my disappointment and move on. Hm… what to read next?