And yet we constantly reclaim some part of that primal spontaneity through the youngest among us, not only through their sorrow and anger but simply through everyday discoveries, life unwrapped. To see a child touch the piano keys for the first time, to watch a small body slice through the surface of the water in a clean dive, is to experience the shock, not of the new, but of the familiar revisited as though it were strange and wonderful.
That is supposed to be the rallying cry of women in the age of aids: no condom, no sex. But the dirty little secret is that the rallying cry is a whisper.... The great unspoken on the heterosexual aids front has been how behavior is still determined by the old psychosexual minuet of the sexes, the lack of responsibility in young men and of assertiveness in young women.
Reading has always been life unwrapped to me, a way of understanding the world and understanding myself through both the unknown and the everyday. If being a parent consists often of passing along chunks of ourselves to unwitting-often unwilling-recipients, then books are, for me, one of the simplest and most sure-fire ways of doing that.
People who are knowledgeable about poetry sometimes discuss it in that knowing, rather hateful way in which oenophiles talk about wine: robust, delicate, muscular. This has nothing to do with how most of us experience it, the heart coming around the corner and unexpectedly running into the mind. Of all the words that have stuck to the ribs of my soul, poetry has been the most filling.
I think the gift of my mother's death, if anything so terrible can be said to have an upside to it, is that i was always keenly aware that life was fleeting, and that you'd better live while you have the chance. As i say in the book, since i was 19 years old i felt like i was living for two, and when i out-lived my mother, when i got into my forties, it felt like a miracle to me.