What is silence? In a series of short meditations, novelist and playwright John Biguenet considers silence as a servant of power, as a lie, as a punishment, as the voice of God, as a terrorist’s final weapon, as a luxury good, as the reason for torture—in short, as an object we both do and do not recognize. Concluding with the prospects for its future in a world burgeoning with noise, Biguenet asks whether we should desire or fear silence—or if it is even ours to choose.
It towers over us and yet fades into background. Its lifespan outstrips ours, and yet its wisdom remains inaccessible, treasured up within its heartwood. It serves us in many ways—as keel, lodgepole, and execution site—and yet to become human, we had to come down from its branches. A model for history and a matrix for the malevolent, the tree occupies great swathes of cultural territory; despite its stationary habit, it does a great deal of meaning-making work in human worlds. A study of the tree’s many natures, this book will offer a branching meditation on the forms, uses, and alliances of the arborescent.
This book explores the composition, history, kinetic life, and the long senescence of golf balls, which may outlive their hitters by a thousand years, in places far beyond our reach. They embody our efforts to impose our will on the land, whether the local golf course or the Moon, but their unpredictable spin, bounce, and roll often defy our control. Despite their considerable technical refinements, golf balls reveal the futility of control. They inevitably disappear in plain sight and find their way into hazards. Golf balls play with people.