We all - in the end - die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.
Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.
Even as a feminist, my whole life I'd been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I'd thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.
Everybody in America grew up without a father even if they had one. It was the fifties. They were working.
Once upon a time, my mother lived in the posh downtown of Homs, Syria. She described my grandfather as a king in a storybook, atop a horse, wearing a didashah and pointing a long arm.
Reading-not occasionally, not only on vacation but everyday-gives me nourishment and enlarges my life in mysterious and essential ways.
Often, I think, displaced people imagine themselves leading double lives. So a portion of my identity has always been privately siphoned into what would have been if I had stayed in Wisconsin.
Casebook is my attempt at a love story. I had a vision of a difficult love.
The first person besides my mother who believed in me was a man whose last name I never knew. He was my boss, the manager of Swenson's Ice Cream shop.
I knew I would hate my best memory because it would prove that people could fake love or that love could end or worst of all, love was not powerful enough to change a life.
He was a man too busy to flush toilets.
We come into the world whole, all of us, but we don't know that, don't know that life will be taking large chunks out of us, forever.
So many things that seemed crucial and excruciatingly hard ended and then didn't matter anymore, forever after
My mother was a single parent, a speech therapist who worked for a company that kept a substantial percentage of the income they billed for her to teach stroke victims in convalescent hospitals to talk again.
The transparency men have enjoyed for generations, about their ability to frankly work while also reveling in fatherhood, is still complicated for women. Which is not to say that anyone can have everything.
Writers collect stories of rituals: John Cheever putting on a jacket and tie to go down to the basement, where he kept a desk near the boiler room. Keats buttoning up his clean white shirt to write in, after work.
In every person's face, there is one place that seems to express them most accurately. With my grandmother, you always looked at her mouth.
Love ruined people's lives, the way our parents said drugs could.
Sometimes, a stage curtain parts and you see: life could be better if you had more. Usually, I think, we can get just as good a different way. But tricks, they do not always work.
I unplug the phone and close the door and just stick with it. I don't ever go out for lunch and I don't take vacations. I like to be awake when no one else is: either just before dawn in the morning or late, late at night. Silence helps.
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