“What time is it? Can you at this moment look in the mirror and be all right with it?… Are you doing what you want to do right? Have you located your passion as if this was your last night on earth?”
I draft some of these posts weeks and/or months before I publish them. I wanted to finish this book before I published this post. In the meantime, a friend of mine started a book review blog and you should check it out here. She’s a brilliant writer and critical thinker. And, her reviews may help you decide what to read next.
I love to read non-fiction (memoirs, psych theory, science, essays, etc.). I do fancy a few fiction novels a year (particularly those written by my friends). But, when I know the writing is real lived experience, it feels different. Not better, not worse, but different. Ultimately, I believe there is a lot of truth and realness found in fiction. We all want to know that good wins over evil, we all want to know that love prevails, and we all want to know that we have a reason to hope.
These themes are found in the Bible, Greek Mythology, Shakespearean Plays, Nicholas Sparks’ Books, The Hunger Games Series, Star Wars, and X-Men. I think one would be hard pressed to tell a unique story. Across time and cultures there are some basic truths related to the human condition.
“Do you see why I miss him? I call out, to no one. Will I remember everything? What am I meant to keep?”
But me? I want to know how real people survive and thrive in the face of struggle. No doubt, my pull to these memoirs is the product of facing my own struggles and professionally helping people manage their life challenges.
“In all marriages there is struggle and ours was no different in that regard. But we always came to the other shore, dusted off, and said, There you are, my love.”
I just finished: The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander. This book was on a number of bestseller lists and recommended with the tagline “If you only read one memoir this year this is the one.” I followed these recommendations and now I am knee deep in tissues holding onto my partner for dear life. I am not going to ruin the book for you (save for the excerpts shared in italics throughout this post). I want you to share in the experience. I’m recommending this book because it tells a true love story.
“I think, I will keep mornings free for the rest of my life so I can go back to bed and hope to meet him there.”
This book asked me: Do you have the courage to love your partner wholly and completely. Do you have the courage to be vulnerable and risk being torn apart by the love that sustained you?
“Perhaps tragedies are only tragedies in the presence of love, which confers meaning to loss. Loss is not felt in the absence of love.”
I feel compelled to share the questions that came up for me as I read her story/their story. Are you loving your partner, your friends, your family entirely and completely right now? If this was your last moment with any of these people would it be what you wanted it to be? Do you have the courage to live with that level of awareness? Is it too much pressure to live life this way? Isn’t it true, that this moment could be one of the most important moments of your life and it is impossible to know this until it passes?
“He was a bottomless boat and the boat that would always hold me.”