Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thursday: August 21, 2008 Something good.

Current mood: enlightened

The Geography Of Love, A memoir by Glenda Burgess

Dear Reader---
This book contains a very personal and, I hope, moving story. On a late summer night in 2004, I began writing what you will find in the pages of this memoir. Truthfully, I didn't write with any intention of publishing my story, but rather as a way of examining my life and coping with the enormity of a life-changing upheaval. One of the most basic instincts we humans have is to process and give meaning to all of our experiences, both good and bad, and seek to be more enriched for it. We each have ways of coping and celebrating the triumphs and tragedies that make up our lives. For me, understanding is found in bringing words to the page. This is a book about the emotional landmarks of life, the mountains and valleys of happiness, the deserts of despair, and the tidal waves of fate, or as I think of it, the geography of love....
... if they could find insight into their own lives, if they could somehow bond with me, a stranger, over our common human experiences.
So I take a deep breath as this book goes into the world. It helps that I have a very modest but very sincere goal: that you will find hope, magic, and inspiration in my story.
Glenda Burgess

Up it went into my arms as I knew I had to buy it.
I started to read it when we got home and I could not put it down. I had to re-read certain lines and read them out loud to my dearest friend so they would share what chills I got from her words:

She starts with a time she was camping with her father at nine and she asks, "what made stars shoot?"
"Please, I begged silently, tell me the truth. I knew with deep inner conviction that the way my father answered my question would somehow affect the way I asked and answered questions the rest of my life....
'Just a bit of chance and chaos, Sunshine,' he said. 'Atoms that dance.'

Moreso later in the beginning:

"Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could"-- the phrase from "Something Good" by Oscar Hammerstein drifted into my head and I hummed the lyric with a smile...
My grandfather had sung the song to me as a child. He and my grandmother , on one of their periodic visits east to New York, had booked in at the Plaza, picking up tickets to Mary Martin in The Sound of Music. Broadway, 1959. I was not yet three at the time, but I remember the song, the way Grampa would twirl me and plant a big kiss on my neck as he sang, "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good."

I looked back over my shoulder at the man sleeping rumpled under the sheets, one arm flung over his forehead in vulnerable disregard for the world.
... For our many mistakes, ... life had produced the unfamiliar. Something good.
* * *
"If you were to ask me three things I know to be true of life, I would tell you these three: what you dreamed of yourself at fourteen reflects your purest wish; don't marry the first person you kiss; and all the great questions bounce back from God."

Pages later, upon meeting the love of her life:

"One thought. I had one improbable thought. I was the one to love this man. I recognized my future in the sparkling eyes of this Californian, handsome as an Italian seventeenth-century Caravaggio with clam juice on his chin."

ahhh. Don't you just love that illustration? Can't you just see what she was seeing that night sitting across from him at dinner? the beautiful description esp with the last part... clam juice on his chin. I love that line best. Because it makes him real. It makes him even MORE charming.

My secret wish for putting even my own self out there with what i write: that someone --- even if their situation doesn't mirror my own --- will feel less alone and find herself in my shoes (heels!) and know that no matter what...
God does always bounce you back.
In the mean time, be inspired by her as I look forward to being.

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