Here’s a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way, you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky. When it does, when one day you look around and nothing is recognizable, when you find yourself alone in a dark wood having lost the way, you may find it easier to blame it on someone else; an errant lover, a missing father, a bad childhood. Or it may be easier to blame the map you were given- folded too many times, out-of-date, tiny print; but mostly, if you are honest, you will only be able to blame yourself.
One day, I’ll tell my daughter a story about a dark time, the dark days before she was born, and how her coming was a ray of light. We got lost for a while, the story will begin, but then we found our way.
Perhaps my language is too precise, and therefore difficult to understand?From The Garden Shukkei-en by Carolyn Forché (via hush-syrup)
[When your former employer let you go,
they said, you are now free to pursue what you want to pursue.]
So here you are.
How do they do it, the ones who make love
without love? Beautiful as dancers,
gliding over each other like ice-skaters
over the ice, fingers hooked
inside each other’s bodies, […]
How do they come to the
come to the—-come to the—-God—-come to the
still waters, and not love
the one who came there with them, light
rising slowly as steam off their joined
skin? These are the true religious,
the purists, the pros, the ones who will not
accept a false Messiah, love the
priest instead of the God. They do not
mistake the lover for their own pleasure,
they are like great runners: they know they are alone
with the road surface, the cold, the wind, […]
—just factors, like the partner
in the bed, and not the truth, which is the
single body alone in the universe
against its own best time.
Right now, I am reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Though I try not to make a habit of spending time with any book that has been hailed by The Oprah Magazine, Strout’s novel of interlocking stories has proven itself to be as rich and luminous as its recommender claimed it would be. The thirteen stories in the collection work together to paint a full portrait the story’s singular title character, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher whose ruthless honesty and wit is unlike any other character I’ve encountered in literature. The stories work not only to allow the reader to see and understand Olive and her little town of Crosby, Maine, but also to give insight into the conflicts, tragedies, and joys of the human condition. I’m only halfway through the novel, but I already feel certain Olive Kitteridge is not a character I will soon forget.