Author, Books, Inspiration, Life, Memoir, Musings, Power, Real Life, Reflections, Writing

Change is Always Happening

Twice before, I’ve written posts about Dani Shapiro’s memoir, Devotion, and how it touched me. Now and then, I pick it up to re-read an entry at random. A few days ago, I read this:

Change is always happening. So simple. So obvious, really—and at the same time so terrifying. A friend had recently sent me directions to her house, and in describing the way the names of the roads changed for no apparent reason, she had written:  Everything turns into something else. No wonder I didn’t want to think about this. What was the point of thinking about this? Love, joy, happiness—all fleeting. Trying to hold on to them was like grasping running water.

I’m older than a lot of you reading this. I think Dani’s realization is one that comes to most of us as we grow older. Everything is fleeting. Everything turns into something else. What was most important to you at the age of five is forgotten and replaced by real concerns at fifteen. And then again at twenty-five. And forty. And …

Everything changes. All things renew, reform, restart. I think back on the times I thought, I can’t survive this. But I did. I remember the times I thought, Nothing will ever be better than this. But I was wrong. Everything changes.  Everything turns into something else.

Grasp what you can and don’t worry about the rest flowing through your fingers. This is a lesson I need to relearn daily. How about you?


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Life, Musings, Reflections, Writing

Unacceptable Loss

Sometimes a hurt is so deep deep deep
You think that you’re gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
With all this rain falling down

Those words are from the song “Rain” by Patti Griffin. I first heard this song a week or so ago, and when she sang these words, I burst into tears. And I don’t mean silent tears; I mean a real boo-hoo. I was listening to this in my car, on the way out to shop, but had to come back home to repair my makeup. That kind of crying.

Why did these lyrics hit me so hard? Every so often, without warning, I fall into a deep deep deep sadness. I feel like crying. And sometimes I do. I feel the need to hug myself. And, inside, I do. Nothing has happened in my life to account for this sudden darkness. It’s happened so often for so long I’ve learned to just ride it out. Just wait. This too shall pass.

But I never had an explanation for it—until now.

Yesterday, while under one such cloud, I picked up Dani Shapiro’s Devotion, which I had started reading a couple months ago. I read this part about what happened to her after she moved from New York City to the Connecticut countryside:

“In the country, I stopped being a person who, in the words of Sylvia Boorstein, startles easily. I grew calmer, but beneath that calm was a deep well of loneliness I hadn’t known was there. No wonder I had been running as hard and fast as I could! Anxiety was my fuel. When I stopped, it was all waiting for me: fear, anger, grief, despair, and that terrible, terrible loneliness. What was it about? … In the quiet, in the extra hours, I was forced to ask the question, and to listen carefully to the answer: I was lonely for myself.”

Instantly, I knew. That deep deep deep hurt, that sadness that makes me want to weep weep weep, is loneliness. I miss myself. A part of me is lost. And I must find it.

This is an unacceptable loss.

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Author, Fiction, Inspiration, Life, Reflections, Writing

Untying the knots

“There are stories inside of me, hardened into tight little knots. Call them anything: Sanskrit samskaras, disturbances in the field, sediment scraped from the depths. They are at the core of all the other stories that are easier to tell.”

Photo: Author: Lorin Klaris; Book: Len Lagrua

Though I don’t know why, it’s usually Spring that renews my spiritual quest, so it’s fitting that I am reading a book by Dani Shapiro titled Devotion: A Memoir. This book will lead me into my annual journey. As I prefer to savor this one, I’ve read only up to page 35, yet this beautifully written work has brought me to tears more than once.

I’ve not cried because of what she wrote so much as for the memories her words evoke. In the cover blurbs, her book is described as “wry” and “funny” so it’s not meant to depress, though I doubt anyone could read it and not find it’s relation to events of their own life.

I applaud Shapiro’s courage, her honesty, in writing such a memoir and appreciate writers like her who share their stories to make me feel as though she has told some of my own for me. I could not—nor, I suspect, will I ever be able to—do that. At this point, I cannot separate my story from those of others in my life, and I don’t feel I have the right to tell anyone else’s story. The best I can do is write fiction, and hope that bits of the “tight little knots” inside me work themselves loose.

I also have to thank Cynthia Newberry Martin whose beautiful post on this book made me want to read it, when you go there be sure to click to watch Dani’s book trailer.

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