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104 pages, Paperback
First published February 7, 2017
Think of this as a short book composed entirely of what I hoped would be a long book's quotable passages.And they are that, quotable. Reflections, insights, memories that each capture some truth about life. They are aphorisms, each a self-contained, poetic, miniature essay.
I used to write these while playing hooky on what I hoped would be my magnum opus. Assigning myself to write three hundred of them was like forcing myself to chain-smoke until I puked, but it didn't work. I didn't puke.Yet, while they are each self-contained and complete, they are arranged in a sequence that tells a story. They are dots that can be connected to get a sense of a person behind them. While some are purely general,
Shame needs an excuse to feel ashamed. It apologizes for everything, even itself.others convey common experiences with specific memories,
In ninth grade I was too afraid to speak to the boy I loved, so I mailed him a black paper heart every week for a year. I wasn't afraid of him; I was afraid of my feeling. It was more powerful than God. If we'd ever spoken it might have burned the whole place down.and still others simply capture personal moments and feelings:
The most fervent kiss of my life was less than five seconds long more than ten years ago with someone else's husband. It still hasn't quite worn off.Most are confessional on at least some level, particularly when connected with those surrounding them. Many echo, complement, and supplement previous thoughts from different perspectives. Themes emerge: desire, loss, ambition, writing, intimacy, suffering, vulnerability, marriage, parenthood, and mortality among them.
There were people I wanted so much before I had them that the entire experience of having them was grief for my old hunger.And it is a book that hints at the hints of fulfillment a particular person has found.
On the page, these might look like the stones of a ruin, strewn by time and weather, but I was here.