On the More than Human Theme

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Richard on Our 
Theme of the More than Human

From a Think Out Loud Interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting. 

 

Miller: As I noted this, your new book came out about three years after the Pulitzer prize winning novel, “The Overstory”, which is about a lot of things, but at base maybe the interconnectedness of trees and fungus and us and everything. Do you see a through line between “The Overstory’' and “Bewilderment”?

Powers: I absolutely do. “Bewilderment” was my 12th novel. I’ve been publishing since 1985, so almost four decades, and I’ve been pursuing this trajectory that I was talking about earlier ‒ namely using the books as a way of becoming better versed in different worlds, different ways of thinking about the world. “Overstory” was the first time that I wrote a book where, when I got to the end, I just wanted to keep exploring those same questions ‒ the interdependence of existence into being this kind of vast ramifying branching symbiotic experiment that we’re becoming part of, that we’ve always been a part of, and wanting to tell stories that break down the difference between humans and the more than human world. And I continue those themes in “Bewilderment” but just in a very different way, as you mentioned in a shorter form, far fewer characters, a simpler prose style, but all of these questions: Who are we? How do we live here on earth among the neighbors? Who we have ceased to see and ceased to take seriously? So “Bewilderment” and “Overstory” are in a way connected, underground as it were, by fungal filaments that make them, in a sense, the same story, pursued in very different ways.

The festival theme is "Stories and the More-Than-Human World".  It’s about using stories as opposed to facts to create more sensorial attunement, awareness and insight about the non-human, ecologically rich world and our interchange with the rest of animate life. There may be no simple solutions to today’s complex problems like climate change, species extinction and ecological damage, but stories start with a mix of empathy and understanding that stories provide.
To hear some thoughts on this use the link below to view parts of a DASER video  with James Balog, Diane Burko,  Maggie Burnette Stogner & Kiho Kim, who touch on a portion of our festival theme on a scaled connection with &  being part of Nature and not separate. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dEB3_58iRwPe-ue0YisBdIwDXBGzFiYw/view?usp=drive_web

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