Category archives for human beings
“If I was a different kind of writer,” I told Madeleine this summer, “I would say that children from the Pacific Northwest are cold and distant because they grow up looking towards mountains and trees much taller than they. The people around them are too small; they don’t care for them at all.”
I’m bowed by the bitterness, but, it’s not true; it’s not, I don’t think. I’ll miss it a lot.
“Hi! My name is Sufjan. History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”
Sufjan Stevens, “Christmas Mysteries of the Chicken McNuggets as Explained by Macrobiotic Star People and Aunt Harriet’s Magic Ouija Board“
For the last two days, Madeleine has been sending me Sufjan interviews, quotations, and stories. Sentences like these, reminiscent of when our father told a friend coming to visit that his four children were all named after the Q and highly sensitive about being called by the wrong number. Humor the best reminder of the ties of DNA.
The human person, like Israel, is invited, expected, and insistently urged to engage in a genuine interaction that is variously self-asserting and self-abandoning, yielding and initiative-taking.
Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament
Let’s be real: it’s been a tough summer. It’s been a really good one, I wrote a week or two ago, “oddly and unexpectedly.” Barefoot sidewalk, brambley, pebbly, climbing, sitting, solitary summer (blackberries really do have thorns: they are brambles, Sleeping Beauty-style!); a photogenic one, but a difficult one, but a good one.
Nolan and I were in the car on Sunday waiting for the bridge to go down, playing KANYE (the song, not the artist) very, very loudly with the windows down, and it was so so so good. Maybe a few days here and there have been enough to make it a social summer, quiet as it’s been. This morning became much better with the song coming on again, loud loud loud in my ears.
O Friends, I’ll love you ’til the record stops. Which, really, is never.
A few weeks ago, I had my last shifts at JOE and the Kelly Writers House; last week, I graduated from Penn; and in three weeks, I move to the Pacific Northwest.
Last night, Ben and Nolan and I drank champagne in the backyard out of mason jars; then Ben and I walked down all of campus, pointing out all the important places and ending at the Button, sitting there for a long time, thinking.
This afternoon, I’ll drive Ben to the airport and put boxes in my parents’ car. I’m selling books and coffee equipment; giving away old clothes and unused makeup; stacking books to bring with me. As Ana told Jessica, I’m kind of going just to go, to go. I do have a job, a safety-net and an assurance; for that, I’m so grateful and I’m excited. It’s true, though, that I’ve picked Vancouver as somewhere new, from-scratch, and also kind and safe. I’m excited.
This week, I reread Gilead. I couldn’t believe how much of it mattered so much to me. This book nearly created me in some ways, and so it reflects the way I think and what I believe.
All that is fine, but it’s your existence I love you for, mainly. Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined.
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
Lamb Roast, April 2014 (taken by Janelle); Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas, March 2014.