Arts Literature

Book Feature: The Middle of Somewhere

Suzanne Stryk, Author

Although Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia inspired Suzanne Stryk’s new book celebrating the natural world with writing and art, her book bears little resemblance to its classic predecessor. Neither is The Middle of Somewhere a guide to off-the-beaten-path places in Virginia, though she does travel to some of those. More broadly, Stryk says, “It is about taking journeys, about ways to enter a place deeply, allowing memory and imagination to flow while also learning from others’ descriptions. It’s really about the process of creating art, about deeply looking at the natural world, and about connecting one’s own memories with history.”

Stryk is an artist as well as a writer and she marries these two explorations in a published book for the first time. “I’ve been combining the two for decades in my sketchbooks,” she says. “This book is unusual in that the artwork came first, the writing second. So, in a curious way, the writing illustrates the art.”

Her observation, that with the diversity of life in the world there is no such place as “the middle of nowhere,” gives the book its title. An overheard remark by a stranger who referred to his homeplace as such made her realize, Stryk says, that “we’re taught to think that way. What a privilege it is to be astonished by the living world so that every place becomes the middle of somewhere.”

The Middle of Somewhere, March, 2022, natural history, paperback $27.95, ebook $22.99, by Suzanne Stryk, and published by Trinity University Press, San Antonio, TX. Blue Spiral 1 (BS1) and Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café will host a reading at BS1 on Wednesday, June 15, at 5 p.m. To attend, email

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