Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Reading the rock

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Elwyn Simons

I think that the best collectors are like great pianists, or great painters, they really have talents that are almost inexplicable, but also it usually takes a lot of time to get really good…I think it’s a form of seeing. It’s seeing order in a random background. For instance, in the Egyptian desert where we hunt fossils, the desert surface is all covered with stones of all sorts and colors that have survived from wind erosion. It’s called desert pavement, or serir in Arabic, and this serir is a very jumbled mass of lumps of rock of all different colors and if there’s a bone with a tooth in it in that background, it’s not easy to see that in the pattern. I guess it’s kind of comparable to some people who, if they’re given a book in which some word occurs only once, can flip through and find it. There are people who can scan pages very rapidly and find a word like that, something that’s very rare compared to the surface of print in all those pages.

Elwyn Simons

Written by nevalalee

May 30, 2015 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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