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Save The Planet, Hug A Clam

Nov 22, 2007
It has become obvious to all but the most unrelentingly stubborn apologists for the oil industry that we now stand at a pivotal moment in the history of our planet. As much fun as it would be to make fun of Al Gore's pretentious drawl and expanding bald spot, none of us can afford to ignore his clarion call for global change. With humankind's carbon footprint leaving a catastrophic impact upon Mother Earth, it is the sacred responsibility of every citizen to make a change for the better. We can all agree on that much, but the next question is a lot thornier: How exactly do you start?

As in so many vital areas of life, when confronted by a monumental task it is beneficial to start with something small. In other words, begin by taking a "micro" view of your "macro" problem. Numerous studies have indicated that the more we are taught to respect and even love the tiniest creatures, the deeper connection we will feel to the planet at large. So if you're looking to address climate change in your own way, you might want to start by picking up a copy of Fables From the Mud by Erik Quisling. This book, simple in structure yet profound in implication, illuminates the plight of Earth's smallest inhabitants in a style that will make you laugh even as your empathy expands.

The first thing you are apt to notice about Fables is the fluid interchange between illustrations and text. This book has been designed with such a graceful simplicity that you could easily read it cover to cover in a single sitting. Indeed, once you've gotten a sense of its sharp humor and cerebral charms, you may be tempted to consume the whole thing while in the middle of a crowded book store.

Try to avoid this temptation, as you will find Fables to be a veritable banquet of philosophical speculation and belly laughs. How in God's name, you may be wondering, can one book offer such seemingly incongruous rewards? The answer to that question is the secret of Quisling's triumph. He has crafted three distinct but thematically connected tales,focusing on some of the Earth's least respected inhabitants: a clam, an ant, and an earthworm. Against all expectation, Quisling turns these lowly invertebrates into heroes of truly epic scale.

By infusing so much ambiguous life and recognizably human foibles into its three-pack of protagonists, Fables allows readers to understand these creatures as reflections of ourselves. Laughable as the clam's frustration with the emptiness of his existence might seem, is our own periodic despair any less ridiculous? It all comes down to a matter of perspective, which seems to be one of Quisling's primary lessons.

After reading this timeless book, you may find yourself thinking twice before stepping on the next ant you see crossing the sidewalk. He's a guest on this ailing planet, just like you. And for all you know, he might be in the middle of an heroic struggle worthy of mention in a book Fables From the Mud.
About the Author
Erik Quisling is the author of the critically acclaimed new book, Fables from the Mud (Borderlands Press, Nov. 2007). His website is Erik Quisling
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