Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Read Elsewhere: Faith, Parenting, Imperfection, Story

From The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides:

"Everyone he knew was convinced that religion was a sham and God a fiction. But his friends' replacements for religion didn't look too impressive. No one had an answer for the riddle of existence. It was like that Talking Heads song. "And you may ask yourself, 'How did I get here?' . . . And you may tell yourself, 'This is not my beautiful house. And you may tell yourself, 'This is not my beautiful wife.'" As he responded to the essay questions, Mitchell kept bending his answers toward their practical application. He wanted to know why he was here, and how to live."
"As he took in the marvelous sights, the dusty Polo Grounds, the holy cows with their painted horns, he had got in the habit of walking around Calcutta in the presence of God. Furthermore, it seemed to Mitchell that this didn't have to be a difficult thing. It was something every child knew how to do, maintain a direct and full connection with the world. Somehow you forgot about it as you grew up, and had to learn it again."

From Blue Nights by Joan Didion:

"On this question of fear.
When I began writing these pages I believed their subject to be children, the ones we have and the ones we wish we had, the ways in which we depend on our children to depend on us, the ways in which we encourage them to remain children, the ways in which they remain more unknown to us than they do to their most casual acquaintances; the ways in which we remain equally opaque to them. . . . As the pages progressed it occurred to me that their actual subject was not children after all, at least not children per se, at least not children qua children: their actual subject was this refusal even to engage in such contemplation, this failure to confront the certainties of aging, illness, death.
This fear. 
Once she was born I was never not afraid."
"I do not know many people who think they have succeeded as parents. Those who do tend to cite the markers that indicate (their own) status in the world: the Stanford degree, the Harvard MBA, the summer with the white-shoe law firm. Those of us less inclined to compliment ourselves on our parenting skills, in other words most of us, recite rosaries of our failures, our neglects, our derelictions and delinquencies. The very definition of success as a parent has undergone a telling transformation: we used to define success as the ability to encourage the child to grow into independent (which is to say adult) life, to "raise" the child, to let the child go. If a child wanted to try out his or her new bicycle on the steepest hill in the neighborhood, there may have been a pro forma reminder that the steepest hill in the neighborhood descended into a four-way intersection, but such a reminder, because independence was still seen as the desired end of the day, stopped short of nagging. If a child elected to indulge in activity that could end badly, such negative possibilities may have gotten mentioned once, but not twice."


"What I have memorized is my child's face at different points in her life."

From the blog Superhero Journal:

"The ways that you are imperfect allow people to connect to you and love you even more." 

From Seth Godin's blog:

 A true story
Of course, that's impossible.
There's no such thing as a true story. As soon as you start telling a story, making it relevant and interesting to me, hooking it into my worldviews and generating emotions and memories, it ceases to be true, at least if we define true as the whole truth, every possible fact, non-localized and regardless of culture.
Since you're going to tell a story, you might as well get good at it, focus on it and tell it in a way that you're proud of. 

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