I read an essay yesterday that changed my life and today I will read something-or-other that will probably change my life. A few words tacked together which will alter my paradigm of understanding like tectonic plates, sometimes with the seismic force of new mountains and sometimes a delicate, almost undetectable shift. Always significant.
Every piece I’ve read recently has resonated; I’ve thought of each story–or the images–many, many times after finishing it. I’ve been moved by the humanity of these writers, moved, in particular, by a refusal to hide. Like they cut themselves open down the sternum and bled out all over the page. Except it’s beautiful and doesn’t feel desperate. It gives me hope, as someone who’d like to write, that our experiences really are universal, that even in their acute specificity our personal stories cross over all the boundaries we try to erect and make us different for having read them.
If you read any of these, read Strayed. You might not understand how she copes with her grief, you might not approve, but you will feel it in your protons. Try to get past yourself so you can truly hear. Note the rhythm of her sentences and do not shy away from her pain.
Essays and Stories:
The White Album by Joan Didion (find more Didion here)
To Bedlam and Part Way Back by Anne Sexton
Selected Poems and Letter of Emily Dickinson by Robert N. Linscott