“By then, I lived in New York, where I was trying to write my first novel. I had a job at a small magazine in an office the size of a closet, with three other aspiring writers. When one day a lawyer called me — me, the middle-class girl from California who hassled the boss to buy us health insurance — and said his client was rich and famous and was my long-lost brother, the young editors went wild. This was 1985 and we worked at a cutting-edge literary magazine, but I’d fallen into the plot of a Dickens novel and really, we all loved those best. The lawyer refused to tell me my brother’s name and my colleagues started a betting pool. The leading candidate: John Travolta. I secretly hoped for a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than I, someone brilliant without even trying.”—Oh, gosh, you should read Mona Simpson’s eulogy for her brother Steve Jobs all the way through to its extremely moving conclusion.
“Countless people have been devastated for reasons that cannot be explained or justified in spiritual terms. To do as you are doing in asking if there were a God why would he let my little girl have to have possibly life threatening surgery?—understandable as that question is—creates a false hierarchy of the blessed and the damned. To use our individual good or bad luck as a litmus test to determine whether or not God exists constructs an illogical dichotomy that reduces our capacity for true compassion. It implies a pious quid pro quo that defies history, reality, ethics, and reason. It fails to acknowledge that the other half of rising—the very half that makes rising necessary—is having first been nailed to the cross.”—Dear Sugar
(Blame This Post on My Second Reading of "Revolutionary Road" in Six Months.)
When does the successful completion of a mundane activity (waking up before 9 a.m., writing thank you notes, buying groceries, sending e-mails) stop feeling like an accomplishment and start feeling like just another tiny mindless inch forward in the dull crawl through an absolutely ordinary adulthood that ends, as all adulthoods end, in one’s meaningless and unremarkable death? Probably around 30, I’m guessing.
“The fact is if you make people laugh, they are less likely to shut you inside a locker. They will invite you to lunch. When you open your mouth, they will stop talking and, expecting to be entertained, quiet. Listen. Let their guard down. You disarm them with a few bad puns. Then, once you’ve got them laughing, they trust you, you can slip your knife into their side, they don’t even notice until they start to feel the ache.”—The Rumpus Interview with Elissa Schappell
Kevin is getting on a plane to Sicily right now with his dad and brother. I have been anticipating this 10-day sojourn of his for a while now, and taken the necessary precautions against loneliness and boredom; in other words, I have added a huge number of British period dramas based on literature to our Netflix queue. This is a weird action to have taken in part because it’s not like he would have ever refused to watch any of these movies with me (he’s not an idiot); it’s also weird because I am almost definitely going to ignore all of them in favor of Say Yes to the Dress repeats.
Last night I had a dream that we had a baby, and it was really important to us to name that baby Jerry. Baby Jerry turned into a full-grown adult male within just a couple of weeks, but his emotional intelligence was still that of a newborn. I ran around, trying to convince his new work associates not to be too rough on him, as he was only a baby, but they didn’t believe me. Kevin thought I was being too overprotective. “Yup, that’s how I would have handled that situation,” is what Kevin said when I related this dream to him earlier. Let’s not analyze any of this just yet.
I haven’t been thinking too clearly lately. I’ve been taking a lot of naps. I’m writing four books in my head but not enough on paper. Some day soon though I’m going to wake up, and the things I will get done that day: oh. You don’t even know. The heavens will weep in gratitude.