eulogies

Sep. 18th, 2008 09:51 am
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I won't cross-post all the beautiful eulogies I've read this week; if you're curious, Nick Mantias over at the Howling Fantods has a pretty complete page set up to keep up with the flood of them.

The one I've liked the most so far is Laura Miller's over at Salon. Miller did one of the better interviews with him post IJ back in 1996, asking what I felt were all the right questions (or at least some of the right questions; it's not a long enough interview to nail him down on all of them). Her eulogy this weekend touched for me on the essence of his work, the essential question of empathy and how difficult it is. She articulates a few things about his work that I've always argued, albeit much more poorly:

a few of Miller's quotes )
I have not yet been able to brave McSweeney's, which is currently posting memories from anyone who had contact with him. But I will say it was a comfort to see that Timothy McSweeney is as devastated and as lost as I feel. It really is bizarre psychic territory, to mourn a person I never met but who affected me so profoundly. What do you do to process a grief like that? Hodge thinks I need to write a eulogy myself, though he seems to have an inflated sense of my status as a Wallace fangirl (it does no good to tell him I am one of many; he thinks I might well be the archfan and thus have a responsibility to the internets to write something brilliant). But I'm not sure what I'd say that Miller hasn't said better, and I'm not sure I can eulogize right now anyway. I'm still doing the Kubler-Ross shuffle.

Anyway...thanks for all the patience and concern in the past week, I love you all. I am doing OK. I have mail for a few of you that has been deferred on account of me being a big old mess but hopefully it'll be on its way shortly.

scavenging

Aug. 9th, 2007 03:43 pm
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Of all the things I saw between Oregon and Texas, the sights that stood out to me the most were the scavenger birds.

I've always liked scavengers. I know they're not popular, signets of death that they are. They've always reminded me, though, of the absolute economy of nature. When I see roadkill I feel a pang of regret for the little life lost. But when I see a crow crouched over it, or turkey vulture circling overhead, it's a comfort. There is suffering and pain and it' s a part of living. There's also nourishment and resourcefulness, and that's part of living too. Carrion animals take what's passed and use it for energy. Waste not, want not.

Driving through a country that alternates between barren stripmalls and sweepingly beautiful vistas, I had a lot of time to consider the subtle ways the universe compensates for loss. This isn't always as simple as "God opening a window after closing a door." This isn't always as simple as "leave the place and people you love behind in return for the chance to do what you love." It's sometimes a matter of something literally dying, literally suffering and wasting away or being mowed over by a large fast-moving vehicle or starving to death in the wilderness, in order that something else can eat it and thrive.

We're here. Let's see what flourishes.
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Several years ago, [profile] spacecowboytom, [profile] drawgirl and I spent some time coming up with the worst breakdown we could imagine. This was when we were back at Reed and any given semester took us relatively close to breakdown (I believe I might have been writing my thesis at the time of this conversation).

Here is what we came up with: a person in a darkened room staring into the corner simultaneously masturbating and weeping.

The good news is: I'm not masturbating yet.

EDIT: Or would I be better off if I were?

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