It was a delightful bookstore, neat and organized, with two cats. As Cori and I wandered and shopped, we talked about various books and authors. We ended up at a display labeled "New Non-Fiction." I picked up a book and said, "Look, a new Wendell Berry!" Cori responded that she knew I liked him and have a lot of his books. I said, "Yes, I thought I'd try to own all his books but I don't think I can afford it. I think he's written something like 50!"
A man on the other side of the display looked up when I said that and our eyes met. I said, "Do you know Wendell Berry?" He said, "Yes, I know him personally."
I said -- rather stupidly -- "Wow! That's just one degree of separation!" I asked, "How do you know him?" "I lived in a log cabin in Kentucky for 10 years, just a few miles from his home," he answered. I came around to his side of the display. "He and another author used to go to events together and park their car at my place."
We talked for a while about Berry. Berry doesn't do interviews, and the man said that he works through his wife. He said he tried to arrange visits for people to Berry through his wife, "who is delightful," but she knows she needs to protect him. I talked about a podcast I listen to named "The Membership" (a word Berry uses to describe the community he writes about) where they read and discuss all 3 genres of his work: poetry, non-fiction, and fiction. I said one of the hosts did succeed in getting an afternoon in person with Berry but the others have not met him; they just all love him and his work. I said that Berry told the one who ultimately got the face-to-face meeting that he "said all he wants to say in his books."
|How I imagine Dad's hay wagon experience looked. |