Thursday, January 26, 2012

So we've had some setbacks lately. Lost a few babies, a pretty significant organ, and another piece of our faith in the grace of the universe. The gift of all this loss is the flood of affection that tries to hold it all back. It's not really enough--better would be to not lose these things at all--but it's enough for now. There is a lot of work to be done now. (I think I'm planning a going away party for a thyroid, if anyone has any ideas for decorations.) The triumph of the human spirit is my favorite thing, right? So there's really only one option.

Last night I went to see Pico Iyer speak. He was talking about all the artists who tell you your stories while they're telling you their own, since his latest book is about a lifetime of encountering Graham Greene and his characters all over the world inside his own head. Greene struggled his whole life with the space between faith and reality, and found that the only common ground was the need for and the use of kindness. Iyer talked and talked about using his feelings of being on the outside to cultivate a persistent sense of wonder about the world, and the need to see other places in order to see ourselves, and as he stood there and told my stories by telling his stories the world collapsed for a moment into someplace safe and warm and purposeful. Afterward I walked in the rain for a while, trying not very hard to find a cab home, feeling calm and clear and a little sad. We tell our stories in order to find our stories.

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