Tuesday, January 1, 2013
The bounty of friendship.
In so many ways the year now gone terrified those of us who love this country and care about the rising class of dreamers. I am vulnerable and incapable, often. I have not learned what I can do in the face of national and personal tragedies, congressional cacophony and faulty machines. I have lost my faith in the sanctity of theaters and classrooms. I have worried about weather. I have felt sickened by conversations that stopped far short of anybody actually listening.
I have wanted to make room. I have asked myself how. I have asked myself questions.
Why are we screaming so much at one another? What is the payoff of cruelty? How can we push a man into the path of an oncoming train? How can we survive the gunning down of children, of teachers, of people watching Batman? What can we do for the friend who has lost a brother far too soon? What can we say when illness happens, and when it returns, when jobs are lost, when everything is so preposterously uncertain, when the storms sweep in? When we don't know and we need to know? When there are people relying on us?
We can, I think, be kinder to one another. We can be more trustworthy. Less self-indulgent with our anger or our needs. Less quick to correct or accuse, humiliate or shame. More aware of the connections between people and things, and how easily—pushed too far, intruded upon—they're broken. We can surround ourselves with the bounty of friendship, and it is this bounty, and the love in my own family, that sustains me, that shows me how. It is this bounty that I am particularly grateful for, on this first day of this new year.
Earlier this year, Wendy Robards, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a caretaker, one of the smartest readers of books anywhere, a quilter, read an early copy of Small Damages and began to make a quilt that captured the colors in the story. When it arrived I was astonished. Since it arrived, I have shown it to every single person who comes, sometimes I show them twice. It is symbolic, this quilt—bright, particular, personal, and made and given out of love.
Today Wendy has posted her favorite books of the year, and, Wendy being Wendy, first provides incredible reviews of a truly stellar collection, then finally names Small Damages as her favorite read of the year.
A tree grows for you in my heart, Wendy.
Love to all of you in 2013.