The preface sets the stage with this disclaimer:
What excuses can I possibly make for this book?With those words (and a new entry in my collection of favorite first-lines, though he only gets half-credit since it's the first line of the preface), Wilson is off and running. And spinning. And leaping. With a sometimes dizzying stream-of-consciousness style and occasional apparent non-sequiturs that require a moment's pause ("Where did THAT come from?").
Alcohol was not involved. I do not (to my knowledge) have a diseased brain. I've never used drugs. But that's not entirely true. Spring is a drug to me. So is Christmas. Love, poetry, wind, smells, lightning, children, ants, very small beetles--all drugs in their own way.
It is all entertaining, though, if sometimes a little uneven. And it is also thoroughly readable and reasonable, despite nearly back-to-back references to Nietschze, Sartre....and Wired Magazine. Some passages in the book delivered on the "wide-eyed wonder" promise of the subtitle, such as this one:
Tree, I say, and you know what I mean. You see one in your mind, or glance out your window and remember the much-needed pruning. Tree, God says, and there is one. But he doesn't say the word tree; He says the tree itself. He needs no shortcut. He's not merely calling one into existence, though his voice creates. His voice is its existence.Throughout this book, the author says in his preface, "I was attempting to use [words] as paint, spreading them on a canvas rather than paper. I wanted to write to the body and to the senses as well as the mind. Did I?"
I think so.