“I was twenty-two, the same age that she was when she’d been pregnant with me. She was going to leave my life at the same moment that I came into hers, I thought.” (11)
“The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.” (209)
i probably should have read this one first. but instead, i read dear sugar, and was confused as to why she injected so much of her personal experience. now, i get it. who knows how things would’ve turned out if i had read the novel first-imagine. but, that’s the one piece of advice that i truly appreciated from her in the first place-we can never know how things would’ve been, because they weren’t. i understood her journey, and how little she had actually shared of her personal experiences in the column, compared to the actual telling. i see her mother/evelation with my own-i had a miscarriage at the age my mother was when she had me. i made it to term, but she bounced, and my child changed my physical landscape from womb to tomb. one day, i will make that funny enough to perform in my one-woman show.
“Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before.” (120)
“Each word I spoke erased itself in the air.” (23)
“I could feel it unspooling behind me-the old thread I’d lost, the new one I was spinning-while I hiked that morning, the snowy peaks of the High Sierras coming into occasional view.” (95)
“When I wasn’t internally grumbling about my physical state, I found my mind playing and replaying scraps of songs and jingles in an eternal nonsensical loop, as if there were a mix-tape radio station in my head. Up against the silence, my brain answered back with fragmented lines from tunes I’d heard over the course of my life-bits from songs I loved and clear renditions of jingles from commercials that almost drove me mad.” (85)
i suppose it’s a battle of the human condition (felt more acutely by some, obviously) to want to and fear being alone. and i don’t know if i would embark on this kind of solo endeavour against nature (0r with, for that matter), but i admire it. richard wagamese has written extensively about spiritual walks, and i am more often than not regaled by such tales, but i believe that the same kind of journey and isolation can come within an urban context. we can be alone in the most populated cities, and lonely in our own minds. when stripped of something we take for granted, like language, we can experience some of the most profound frustration, but also the deepest growth. i remember my first couple weeks in viet nam a decade ago, when i didn’t have any words, and my family started calling me “shy”. oh, how charm and personality is tied up in the access of language and depth of vocabulary. i had no idea. i remember i would be up for hours, forced to be mute, but the shouting in my brain was almost too much to bear-i was remembering how to say things in every language i’d ever learned, including ones that i hadn’t spoken in years. years later, in montreal, i remember wondering what that trip would’ve been like had i done it after my time in la belle province, if i had the french then that i did then-if i could’ve talked to the great aunties who had come up during that wave of colonization and had been cast aside for the current one-nobody bothered to teach them english because they didn’t need it for anything. and what about now-would all my dormant duolingo reading skills have to come into speaking action? i actually thought of khanh the other day, my travelling buddy who helped me learn vietnamese and lighter skills in exchange for english instruction-all because we found common ground in the NBA and the roots. i suppose we don’t ever really change, do we? everything we are is everything we were, and there’s something comforting about that.
“I was a terrible believer of things, and I was also a terrible nonbeliever in things.” (134)
tv show tie-in: call me fitz-season three
con-currently reading (because it is a reasonable transport size): tropic of hockey-dave bidini