I subscribe to Brain Pickings (which might be evidence, but I don’t think so. Maybe evidence of some sort of shallowness, but what are you going to do, it’s America in the 21st century which is so not as cool as Walter Cronkite led me to believe).
Anyway. Brain Pickings had a quote from Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and it was break, and I thought reading for entertainment might be a good thing; the quote being, “I think it is well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be.” So that was interesting, and I borrowed the book from the library.*
The whole entire context is; “It all comes back. Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one’s self back in that kind of mood but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they run up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.”
Look at that. Who doesn’t have the crazy child who got broad-sided by a world that doesn’t necessarily act in good faith, or at least your best interests, that runs blindly ahead in its merciless spin?
The essay goes on, and kindly, talking about self-respect, and how it truly is the ability to admit your failures, take responsibility for your mistakes, head-on, and go on. Maybe it sank in, some of it.
Getting rid of books feels like it was maybe stupid, mostly, or at least the way I did it. If I had a copy of this book, I could underline the important parts. Instead I’m posting them to my blog. Good enough, I guess.
*A book I bought thirty years ago and gave away in one of those periods of internet-inflicted shame in the staggering number of things I own, although moving and the thought thereof had a part. Good buddhists own less than 200 things, I read. I’m betting that between Daughter and me we own more than a thousand books, and that is merely one category of the too-many-things-I-own Internet-or-myself-induced shame-fest that is my life. Or was. Now I am working on dumping the things that are actually a waste of my time and guilt.