What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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A Natural History
of the Senses

by Diane Ackerman

Field-Tested by Andrew Huff

in a moving van

Early summer, but it was already hot. Driving across country in a big white van—me, two kittens, and the newfound love of my life, who was moving to Middle of Nowhere, New Mexico to be with the boyfriend she hadn’t broken up with yet. The rental van had no tape deck, so we had a boom box with fading batteries and a book: A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman. One of us read while the other drove, working our way through smell, touch, taste, hearing, and vision as we moved through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and so on. Its episodic structure was perfect for regular breaks, and the sensual imagery fueled our passion, even as I helped deliver her to someone else. I can’t say for sure that that book changed something, but a month later, she was back on the road, on her way to me.

Andrew Huff is editor and publisher of Gapers Block, a Chicago-centric webzine. He also writes at Me3dia.

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