Meet the Author: David Gessner
NYT Bestselling Author David Gessner will be speaking about his new book, “Quiet Desperation, Savage Delight: Sheltering with Thoreau in the Age of Crisis”, at The Bookworm on Tuesday, June 15th.
Special to the Daily
What: Author David Gessner at the Bookworm
When: Tuesday, June 15th at 6pm
Where: Riverwalk Amphitheatre, Riverwalk in Edwards
Cost: $10 ticket, purchase online or at the Bookworm of Edwards
More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com
Most are familiar with the story of Henry David Thoreau and his little cabin on Walden Pond. But few think of him as what he really was: the original social distancer, with a unique perspective on life and what it all really means.
Come join David Gessner in celebration of his new book, Quiet Desperation, Savage Delight: Sheltering with Thoreau in the Age of Crisis. This event will be held in the Riverwalk Amphitheater, where David will be speaking about his work and signing copies of his books!
David Gessner grew up an avid reader, but it wasn’t until a little bit later in his life that the dream of being an author began to take shape. “I began keeping a journal in high school, and I keep one to this day,” Gessner says.
The books he read as a child rippled through his life, affecting his post-college choices. “To hell with law school or any normal career. I would become a writer,” Gessner recalls.
He worked on novels for years, but it was only upon returning to nonfiction writing, in the wake of his father’s death and his own cancer diagnosis, that his deep connection to the world around him began to shine through. “I never wanted to be a nature writer. For a long time, I disliked the phrase ‘nature writing.’ It sounded ineffectual, quaint, obscure, and too scientific for what I was trying to do,” Gessner states. “But I gradually began to see that what interested me was often the world beyond the human world.”
Gessner has written many books since then, returning to old obsessions and turning them into published works. Recently, Gessner returned to one of his first literary loves, who also often gets coined a nature writer, that of Henry David Thoreau. “The book starts with a story about taking my daughter to Walden Pond when she was a baby. As we approached the place where Henry David Thoreau’s cabin once stood, I said to her, ‘That’s where the man lived who ruined your father’s life,’” Gessner recalls. “I meant ruined in a mostly good way. I discovered Walden when I was sixteen and never quite recovered. Thoreau was where it all started for me.”
Turns out, the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, Gessner couldn’t help but think of the original social distancer, and his little cabin in the woods. “Thoreau can serve as a model of self-reliance and as an inspiration for the correction of our compulsion of busyness but only if we try to dig below the cliché of him,” Gessner explains, “Because, as it happens, Thoreau was not all flowers and acorns, and this man had some profound and sturdy thoughts not just about nature but about death and disaster too.”
As Gessner revisited Thoreau in the wake of the new global crisis, Thoreau’s thoughts seemed to echo in his own. “Maybe, it occurs to me, nature writers are what this messed-up world really needs,” Gessner reflects, “People who connect things, who see and speak about those connections, and who listen to both people and science. There are certainly worse things to be.”