a curious Yankee in Europe's court

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David Gessner writes a manifesto

Posted on the April 30th, 2008

Last week, Beacon Broadside website printed an excerpt from the essay “My Green Manifesto” by David Gessner. Below I’ve excerpted from Beacon’s excerpt. If you want to read Gassner’s full essay, you can find it here.

In Manifesto, Gessner himself excerpts one of his earlier essays:

The essay came about when, after throwing a book against a wall in which the author had droned on serenely about “being the present moment” and “living in the natural woods,” I went for a walk on my unnatural beach carrying my unnatural micro-cassette recorder, into which I spoke the beginnings of an essay. When the essay was later published it began exactly the way I spoke it that day as I tramped along the beach:

I am sick of nature. Sick of trees, sick of birds, sick of the ocean.

Of course I wasn’t really sick of the natural world, just of the way some writers chose to portray it. I was sick of the hushed voice, sick of the saintliness, sick of the easy notions of the perfectibility of man, sick of the apocalyptic robes, sick of the scolding. But most of all I was sick of the certainty that seemed to ooze out of the words. Writers certain that they knew what would happen in the world and certain that they knew how to be in that world and certain that they should tell us these things. The odd thing was that, for all their certainty, the world they described didn’t sound much at all like the world I happened to live in.

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