The Ways I’ve Worried is an exquisite and heart-wrenching piece on the fragility and beauty of life. The author writes about her relationship with her first husband, who had cystic fibrosis, and how that impacted on the way she lived, loved, and lost.
Mortality is one of the defining characteristics of humanity. That’s one thing we all agree on. Everyone has different ways of coping, and for me, it’s my faith and the love of my family and friends. The next life is better than this one, and that very yardstick of eternity puts everything into perspective.
The New York Times ran a great fiction piece today: When The World Ends, by Elyse Pitok.
Elyse’s piece is short and powerful, much like a punch to the gut. It really makes you think – what would happen if we were at the end of the world? All these luxuries that we take for granted will vanish. We’ll all be stripped down to the basic act of survival. How will that change you?
She very cleverly juxtaposed the protagonist having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with, well, the world ending. That takes mastery. One of my favourite lines:
But you realize that there is so much healing to be done, and no more. Tomorrow you will still be skinny. The next day you will still be obsessive. The day after that you will still be compulsive. No amount of therapy or medicine or patience is going to change that, but somehow you will find a way to coexist with your neuroses.
Her piece reminds me of Cormack McCarthy’s The Road, a novel which disturbed me for weeks. At this point, I wouldn’t re-read it. I have no intention to watch the movie, either. But was it a good book? Yes, so good I think it might have given me nightmares. Apocalyptic fiction is not for the faint of heart. The scary thing is that at the rate humankind is burning up resources – how far away are we from the point of no return? It’s a harrowing thought.
As one of my teachers taught me – tread lightly upon the earth. It’s the only one we have.