Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to Work Mode

I'm procrastinating writing by flipping through Natalie Angier's book Woman - An Intimate Geography. I remember her as a brilliant and captivating non-fiction writer, and I'm trying to figure out what makes her so good.

Each page sucks me right in to the story, even though the "story" is various explanations of biology. It should be dry, but it's fascinating, even personable. The narrative flow hooks me over and over. I want to be able to do that!

Here's a sample passage, turned to at random. It ends the chapter titled "Labor of Love, the Chemistry of Human Bondage" :
Cort Pedersen has pointed out that we humans can maintain with our mind's eye the neuronal state of attachment, which other animals need their real eyes, noses, and ears to keep alive. We rarely can sever all components of an intimate bond, he says. We have photographs. We have friends who mention the loved one. We walk the same streets and eat in the same restaurants where once we strolled and dined and released cholecystokinin with the loved one. We have Sam playing that song, you must remember this. We have too many senses and systems eager to reenact the past, and we have too much memory. Again and again the pathways of old love are reignited. Our analytical minds feed and protect the circuits of attachment. The human capacity for thought and memory keeps love alive long after the lower brain, the Rattus brain, would have thrown love away. Eternal love is a myth, but we make our myths, and we love them to death (350-351).

I love that last line.

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