September 20, 2010

Annals of the Long Now

Among the interviews collected at the Paris Review site is a recent interview with John McPhee, where he allows that the sense of geological time he rubbed up against for twenty years creating Annals of the Former World (1998), associating with geologists who say a million years is the smallest plausible unit they can think in, has taken its necessary toll on his own perspective:

The fact is that everything I’ve written is very soon going to be absolutely nothing—and I mean nothing. It’s not about whether little kids are reading your work when you’re a hundred years dead or something, that’s ridiculous! What’s a hundred years? Nothing. And everything, it doesn’t evanesce, it disappears. And time goes on, and the planet does what it’s going to do.

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