Writers talk about setting and place a lot. But what about space? When my friend the writer William Claassen* sent me the Tom Spanbauer quote below, I was struck by how it spoke of the spaces between things, where all details of importance seem to live for me. Think about it: the space between expression and speech, between desire and touch, between word and deed, is where the action happens. Worlds are created and demolished in those spaces.
“There was sky everywhere: outside the windows, under the beds, between the ceiling and the floor there was sky. There was sky between your fingers when you spread them, and sky under your arms when you lifted them up. Sky around your neck and ears and head, and sky pressing your eyeballs. When you took a breath you were breathing sky. Sky was in your lungs. My mother hung up wash across the sky. I swung in my swing through the sky. There was no escaping it.”
~Tom Spanbauer, Faraway Places:
What a skill to mix the beauty and vastness of sky with a hint of darker things. When I think about my home state of Kansas, I think about space—and now after reading Spanbauer, I think about how we move through space differently depending on how we occupy our lives. Does this depend, even a little, on where we come from? How do wide open places strike you? I’ll be looking out for more of Spanbauer’s work.
*Books by William Claassen: Journey Man A World Calling, Another World A Retreat in the Ozarks, Alone in Community Journeys Into Monastic Life Around the World