The Writing of Stones: Roger Caillois’ Patterns In Geology

I just found this post on the Pattern People blog, about a book entitled The Writing Of Stones. The images are striking, true, but it’s more than just a book about nature. I love how blogger Lauren Demith Chung wove in literary quotes from the book, which tie geology with pattern-making and philosophy.

The author, Roger Caillois, is what Wikipedia describes as “a French intellectual whose idiosyncratic work brought together literary criticism, sociology, and philosophy by focusing on subjects as diverse as games, play and the sacred.” Profound guy — a synthesizer of information, no doubt, and right up REDEFINE’s alley. Chung shares one of the quotes from The Writing Of Stones, writing:

“Philosophers have not hesitated to identify the real and the rational. I am persuaded that a different bold step … would lead to discover the grid of basic analogies and hidden connections which constitute the logic of the imaginary.”

ARTICLE CONTINUED BELOW

An excerpt from The Writing Of Stones reads like it was written by a scientist finding his poetic voice, or a poet finding his scientific voice. The combination is beautiful and evocative. You can buy it on Amazon for one zillion thousand dollars.

“Meanwhile the tree of life goes on putting out branches. A multitude of new inscriptions is added to the writing in stones. Images of fishes swim among dendrites of manganese as though among clumps of moss. A sea lily sways on its stem in the heart of a piece of slate. A phantom shrimp can no longer feel the air with its broken antennae. The scrolls and laces of ferns are imprinted in coal. Ammonites of all sizes, from a lentil to a millwheel, flaunt their cosmic spirals everywhere. A fossil trunk, turned jasper and opal like a frozen fire, clothes itself in scarlet, purple, violet. Dinosaurs’ bones change their petit-point tapestries into ivory, gleaming pink or blue like sugared almonds.”

VIA PATTERN PEOPLE

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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