Humans have been writing stories for at least four thousand years. The earliest that we know of, written on 12 clay tablets, is the epic of Gilgamesh, the fifth king of Uruk, who lived in ancient Sumeria, somewhere between 2750 and 2500 BCE. In this first recorded story, Gilgamesh sets out on a quest for the font of all wisdom. He journeys to a new place, through many adventures, and returns to tell his tale.
The quest, the movement from one place to another in search of wisdom, is a deeply embedded theme in literature of every culture, which started me thinking about place, and what it means to a writer.
And she struck his neck twice with all her might, and severed his head from his body. Then she tumbled his body off the bed and pulled down the canopy from the posts; after a moment she went out, and gave Holofernes’ head to her maid, who placed it in her food bag.
The Book of Judith 13: 8-10
from The Apocrypha
Words on the Land I
The sound of mist lifting. The sound of bark warming. The sound of a caterpillar wrapping around a stem of marsh grass. The sound of a frog leaping. The sound of a turtle slipping. The sound of a pine scale dropping to a midden in the duff. The sound of a phoebe calling—will someone answer him, please? The sound of a cloud passing. The sound of mosquitoes honing. The sound of a red damsel fly at rest on a white knee. The sound of dew falling. The sound of a moon rising. The sound of no words on the land.