I hate this book. It disgusts me. Every word of it feels like a lie.
But here’s the problem: i know why it made me sick; i know why reading (listening I hate this book. It disgusts me. Every word of it feels like a lie.
But here’s the problem: i know why it made me sick; i know why reading (listening to) it felt like being constantly punched in the gut. I had to stop every five minutes to literally keep myself from throwing up. It made me angry.
But i kept going back. Every time, when the nausea passed, i picked up where i’d left off. I took it like the awful, revolting medicine i wanted it to be; i took it in, hoping that somehow it might actually work. I wanted to believe in it; but i did not; i did not believe in any of it at all.
I have harmed myself in the past. Walking into the emergency room and saying these words was the hardest thing i’d ever done in my life up to that point:
I’m scared. I don’t want to hurt myself again.
And… there was no magic. Not exactly. But when i was helped into a chair and given a glass of water; as i sat there watching the people around me: paramedics, parents, friends, lovers, strangers, helping one another; i had a thought, and i wrote it down on the inside of a cardboard chocolate bar package: “Humanity is filled with love.”
I’d forgotten about that moment, until i read this book; i don’t mean i actually couldn’t remember it until the book (“magically”) reminded me. I mean i had let that moment get buried under all kinds of other garbage. It’s not fun to remember being in the hospital; it was a very scary, dark, unhappy time for me. But it was also something else. I was witnessing something that moved me; i was seeing something mundane in an extraordinary way. These people helping one another, without fanfare or even commentary; these acts of kindness, gentleness, even when performed with a cool professionalism; these facts; they coalesced in front of me, and i felt something… I felt love.
It is easy to dismiss this; i was “crazy”, wasn’t i? Yes and no. I was in a very vulnerable and volatile state of mind. But i was also, by the same token, open to thoughts that were new. This was a new sort of idea; the poor word love, so routinely abused, so trivialized by overuse; the idea of love as an actual force, as a presence permeating our species — unevenly, inconsistently, and “weakly” (in the sense of John Caputo’s weak theology) — was new to me.
And i promptly forgot about it. I had work to do; i have two kids (only one at the time); i was in graduate school; i was in the midst of a broken relationship — my partner and i were in counseling, and she was working hard with me to keep fear and guilt from interrupting our communication. I kept that chocolate bar package, i think; it’s somewhere in my unfortunate hoard of stuff. But i very rarely thought of it. Until i was reading (listening to) this book.
I still hate this book. But i’m going to keep reading it. And i may never like (or love) it… but i intend to learn from it. I recognize i need it. My life really does depend on it....more
This (perhaps) surprisingly moving super-hero story contains some of the most striking dialogue (and images and ideas) i've come across in a while. ThThis (perhaps) surprisingly moving super-hero story contains some of the most striking dialogue (and images and ideas) i've come across in a while. This is the best example i've read in years of why i love comics.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“Within this flame burns all the knowledge of our world. All the secrets we have hidden, all the truths we have forgotten. All our songs, all our stories, all our greatness, all our foolishness. It is divided into two parts. That which existed before you came. And that which was created after you came and saved our world...”
— Doctor Strange (to Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer)...more