Monday, December 1, 2008

Personal Essays

I am in love with the writting style of a few of these writers. I love the short writing form of essays and the expressive channel they create. As I was reading these essays I found myself lost in each and every one of the authors' words. I was there. I was seeing what they were seeing.
Strayed was phenomenal. I suppose it was her catchy opening sentence that drew me to that essay first. I found it interesting that she talked about how when her mother passed people treated her as if she should get on with life. They spoke of the set stages of grief which had an order and a prescribed time. This component of pain seems to be something which keeps coming back. You only have so much time before you can put on your new shoes and leave your old life, only to smile and new smile and charm new people. Like many people she found comfort in pointless, heartless sexual endaveors, despite her love for her husband. Most would immediately view this as being wrong, but for some reason it settled well with me. "Live each day as if it were the last." Just make sure that what you are doing is truly what you want.
Strayed spoke of passion as a temporary thing. In my mind passion is in direct correlation with desire. Desire for one thing is temporary, until the next best thing comes along. Another thing worth pointing out was her mention of all losses being made equal by other people's experiances - it is making grief and pain relative experiance. Everything about this says that grief is not so is a disease that can be overcome.

Sedaris gave way to another great work. Great words. He mentions getting sympathy without the symptoms. I feel like so many people in our society go for this approach now-a-days. You want to die, yet you cut horizontally. It was refreshing to hear his story of marriage as the enemy. When he mentions the words of his father, encouraging his sister to stay thin so she could find a husband, it makes me remember the fact that we live in a society that is tightly focused on pairing up and signing the papers to prove it.
His quote about physical contact not being able to match the healing power of a well-made cocktail is quite brilliant. It explains the ways of his family. It also reminds of every single time those who I have grown to trust and believe in turn on me, and there is nothing left, a cold glass of what ever is available certainly does a trick.
When Sedaris states that the sudden events of his mother's cancer took thier common langauge, I was brought back to the thought of pain taking away our ability to communicate. The ultimate chaos narrative.

The best quote I had picked up on in a while was in this essay: "You can't brace yourself for the famine if you've never even known hunger". Boy are those some words of wisdom.

The last essay which truly stood out to me was Beard's. She writes of the pathetic, yet somehow meanigful life she is leading which consists of her constantly washing blankets for the dog which keeps peeing on them. Her husband keeps leaving her frantic messages because he seeks her reassurance that he is storng enough to leave her - another pathetic concept. I have to give her kudos for the strength it takes to not pick up the phone, for one reason or another. I wondered about Chris' mother. Does she committ suicide? Is there meaning left to life after she has come to America to cheer herself up from losses such as her husband and mother, and her son is killed? It is such an ironic series of events for this unfortunate woman, it seems that perhaps it would have a chance of being featured in a British comedy.
Lastly, the squirels. From the start it was clear she didn't want them to leave. Although they were a bother, much like her peeing dog, there is a strange comfort which comes in knowing they are there and hearing their noises. On a sad last note, after she hears a branch against the house she grows hopeful. But then she is brought to reality with the clear statement that no matter how much you miss them, they will never come back once they are gone, in reference not only to the squirels, but also to her friend Chris and her husband.