Rebecca Solnit (b. 1961), who has a birthday this month, is a gifted writer / thinker I regularly come across in my listening and reading, and along with Susan Sontag (and others, including Adrienne Rich, May Sarton, & Anne Lamott) are writers whose perspective I value greatly. They enrich, broaden, deepen, and indeed, modify my own thinking; my own ways of engaging with the world(s) in which I live. The only Solnit book I have is her Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories and Wild Possibilities (pub. 2004 with a third edition (with a new foreword and afterword) published by Haymarket Books in 2016). The essay mentioned in the following interview is wonderfully thoughtful and evocative. You can find it online. It was published in Harpers Magazine / October 2015 and is titled The Mother of All Questions (here).
“A singular writer and thinker, Rebecca Solnit celebrates the unpredictable and incalculable events that so often redeem our lives both solitary and public. She searches for the hidden, transformative histories inside events we chronicle merely as disasters, in places like post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. She writes that, so often, "when all the ordinary divides and patterns are shattered, people step up to become their brothers' keepers. And that purposefulness and connectedness bring joy even amidst death, chaos, fear, and loss."”
Rebecca Solnit is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine and a regular writer for publications including The Guardian and The London Review of Books. Her books include A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster and Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities.
You’ll find the conversation here.