There are random moments - tossing a salad, coming up the driveway to the house, ironing the seams flat on a quilt square, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the delphiniums, hearing a burst of laughter from one of my children's rooms - when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. This is my true religion: arbitrary moments of of nearly painful happiness for a life I feel privileged to lead.
For all it's problems and difficulties, life is mostly a wonderful experience, and it is up to each person to make the most of each day. I hope you are successful in your life, but look to the heavens and the earth and especially to other people to find your real wealth. Wherever I am, wherever you go, know that my love goes with you.
I will be so glad for you to hear not the sounds of gunfire but the sounds of church bells, and of people working in peace.
There I was, waiting, afraid I’d never experience the kind of joy yet to come, but hoping for it just the same.
And so, what of it all? What of me and my passions and personas, my great loves and failures of love, my writing, my politics? What of the clanging opinions, the endless queries as to the whys and wherefores of how I chose to conduct myself? In the end, there is but one answer to every question, whether it is spit at me or made as gentlest inquiry: I was I.
You don't do so well with marriage. I don't think you've begun to realize all there is for you to love. And I know you better than anyone & here's what I know about you: You have so much love to give! But I feel like you're all the time digging in the tomato bin, saying, Where are the apples?
I also think you should take care of yourself. You can crack up a little when these things go on for so long. You've got to bring a healthy self in here. That will help him most. He needs to feel your strength. And you need to do what you have to keep it.
The things that brought me the most comfort now were too small to list. Raspberries in cream. Sparrows with cocked heads. Shadows of bare limbs making for sidewalk filigrees. Roses past their prime with their petals loose about them. The shouts of children at play in the neighborhood, Ginger Rogers on the black-and-white screen.
I just want to say one thing. If I ever write a novel again, it's going to be in defense of weak women, inept and codependent women. I'm going to talk about all the great movies and songs and poetry that focus on such women. I'm going to toast Blanche DuBois. I'm going to celebrate women who aren't afraid to show their need and their vulnerabilities. To be honest about how hard it can be to plow your way through a life that offers no guarantees about anything. I'm going to get on my metaphorical knees and thank women who fall apart, who cry and carry on and wail and wring their hands because you know what, Midge? We all need to cry. Thank God for women who can articulate their vulnerabilities and express what probably a lot of other people want to say and feel they can't. Those peoples' stronghold against falling apart themselves is the disdain they feel for women who do it for them. Strong. I'm starting to think that's as much a party line as anything else ever handed to women for their assigned roles. When do we get respect for our differences from men? Our strength is our weakness. Our ability to feel is our humanity. You know what? I'll bet if you talk to a hundred strong women, 99 of them would say 'I'm sick of being strong. I would like to be cared for. I would like someone else to make the goddamn decisions, I'm sick of making decisions.' I know this one woman who's a beacon of strength. A single mother who can do everything - even more than you, Midge. I ran into her not long ago and we went and got a coffee and you know what she told me? She told me that when she goes out to dinner with her guy, she asks him to order everything for her. Every single thing, drink to dessert. Because she just wants to unhitch. All of us dependent, weak women have the courage to do all the time what she can only do in a restaurant.
I cried until my eyes swelled shut, and then I slept, a black, dreamless sleep from which I awoke amazingly refreshed, at least until I remembered.
If I could just have him until the day was over. Just a few more hours. But he was gone. I clasped my hand tightly over my mouth and felt a trembling that started deep inside move out to make all of me shake. I had a mighty impulse, it truly was mighty, to rise to my feet and howl. To overturn the chair and nightstand, to rip at my clothes, to bring down the very walls around us. But of course I did not do that. I pulled an elemental sense of outrage back inside and smoothed it down. I forced something far too big into something far too small, and this made for a surprising and unreasonable weight, as mercury does. I noticed sounds coming from my throat, little unladylike grunts. I saw that everything I’d ever imagined about what it would feel like when was pale. Was wrong. Was the shadow and not the mountain. And then, “It’s all right,” I said, quickly. “It’s all right.” To whom? I wondered later.
Now he understood. After a while, pain simply stopped. It was as though your mind was able to create a firewall beyond which it would not let you venture. You had to have a break from your anguish, or you'd go crazy. It was the psychological equivalent to fainting when physical pain became overbearing.
Nothing helped until the day she took a tablet and pencil into the basement and moved the event out of her and onto paper, where it was reshaped into a kind of simple equation: loss equaled the need to love again, more.
He wore a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the good place, and a heart-shaped leaf lay trapped in the hollow if his throat as though it were planned, though of course it was so perfect it couldn't have been planned.
But in spite of my great desire for intimacy, I've always been a loner. Perhaps when the longing for connection is as strong as it is in me, when the desire is for something so deep and true, one knows better than to try. One sees that this is not the place for that.
I think, actually, that none of us understands anyone else very well, because we're all too shy to show what matters the most. If you ask me, it's a major design flaw. We ought to be able to say, Here, look what I am. I think it would be quite a relief.
I made cranberry sauce, and when it was done put it into a dark blue bowl for the beautiful contrast. I was thinking, doing this, about the old ways of gratitude: Indians thanking the deer they'd slain, grace before supper, kneeling before bed. I was thinking that gratitude is too much absent in our lives now, and we need it back, even if it only takes the form of acknowledging the blue of a bowl against the red of cranberries.
The light is amber, the air still; the daylilies have folded in on themselves. Soon, the hooded blue of dusk will fall, followed by the darkness of night and the sky writing of the stars, indecipherable to us mortals, despite our attempts to force narrative upon them.
Life comes with problems, you have to accept that. And you have to try to lead the simple life; to not constantly ask questions about the whys and the wherefores of everything.
The best thing that can happen to me when I'm writing fiction is to lose sight of the fact that I'm writing at all. It's as though I enter into a kind of trance. I know I'm writing, but I don't THINK about it. I just let my fingers type--it's as though the feeling comes out directly through them, bypassing the brain altogether. When that happens, I feel completely transported. There is nothing else like this feeling, very little else is more important to me. That intimacy I feel between myself and my work is what makes me feel at home on the earth. I am basically a shy person, basically a loner and an outsider; and I have been all my life. But when I achieve the kind of connection I can through writing, I feel I'm sitting in the lap of God.
The seasons tell us, everything in organic life tells us, that there is no holding on; still, we try to do just that. Sometimes, though, we learn the kind of wisdom that celebrates the open hand.
I am thinking about the way that life can be so slippery; the way that a twelve-year-old girl looking into the mirror to count freckles reaches out toward herself and that reflection has turned into that of a woman on her wedding day, righting her veil. And how, when that bride blinks, she reopens her eyes to see a frazzled young mother trying to get lipstick on straight for the parent/teacher conference that starts in three minutes. And how after that young woman bends down to retrieve the wild-haired doll her daughter has left on the bathroom floor, she rises up to a forty-seven-year-old, looking into the mirror to count age spots.
Hey. Know what happened to me today?He sits back and crosses his arms, smiles. No. What happened to you today?Well, I decided to take the bus to work instead of driving? And I got on and I sat behind this woman who started crying. She was very quiet about it, just every now and then she would reach up and wipe away a tear. She had this kerchief on her head, this ratty old flowered kerchief, but it was clean and it was tied very neatly, you know. And she had her purse on her lap and she was holding on to it like it was hands. At first nobody else seemed to notice she was crying, but then everybody around her did. And it got very quiet. And then finally this man got up from the back of the bus, and he came up and sat next to her and put his arm around her, and he didn't say a word, but just stared straight ahead with his arm around her and she kept crying, but it was better now, you could tell, she kind of had a little smile even though she was still crying. And I don't know if he even knew her! I think everybody was wondering the same thing: Does he even know her? I guess he must have known her; otherwise she probably would have leaped up and started screaming or something, but you never know! You just never know, it might have been someone whose heart went out to her because she was crying. And he decided he would comfort her. And she let him. And I think it was a kind of miracle. A living parable or something.
This is the way things work sometimes, that good things get ideas from each other, say, well now let’s go ahead and let her have it all.
When you take the small roads you see the life that goes on there, and this makes your own life larger.
Now, on this road trip, my mind seemed to uncrinkle, to breathe, to present to itself a cure for a disease it had not, until now, known it had.
I think it's a real gift to be able to say that what's in your life is enough. It seems most of us re always wanting more.
We are assumed to be rather hopeless -- swallowed up by incorrect notions, divorced from the original genius with which we are born, lost within days of living this distracting life.