Note — Apr 18, 2021

Hummingbirds and the Ecstatic Moment

I wish every author wrote such an essay when launching a new book. Here Jeff Vandermeer writes a deeply personal one on his childhood travels, health issues, and a memory that would last a lifetime, resulting in a fascination with hummingbirds, and recurring appearances in his writings. If you are interested in well written introspection, how life experiences and emotions propel writing and influence style, you’ll enjoy this read.

Because the nonhuman world exists in a complexity we still don’t grasp, it is easy to see something true and pure about an essential connection to “nature,” to a world beyond the human that exists without us, that might be better off without us, and whose connections and communications are often so invisible to us. […]

From a writer’s perspective, the idea of some kind of constraint is compelling, because constraint functions as resistance, and conflict and story occur when the writer has to deal with resistance. […]

Neither context resembles my own, but the magician’s trick is that my encounter with hummingbirds in Cuzco still exists in the novel, in the sense that thinking of that moment allowed me when writing other scenes to conjure up the emotion of the ecstatic moment, the encounter with the beautiful unknown. The world beyond the world we know.