Baby Steps Towards a Book

What I want, more than anything, is to feel connected to myself and to others. To find form for what lives in me and yearns for a worldly shape. Stories, for me, and yes, books, are one of those recognizable shapes — a way of literally holding, and offering to others, one’s lived experience — and also of letting it go.

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Petrozavodsk, 1990

But I couldn’t help myself. My love of Russia began to bang up against something else: The undeniable truth that Jews had left this place in droves, in search of the religious and cultural freedom of expression. Sure, some small communities had cropped up, particularly in the bigger cities, but here in the north, Jews were an anomaly — suspicious, strange, other.

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Creativity is Messy: Questions to Explore When You’re Being Harsh with Yourself

Binary thinking doesn’t serve us. In this (or any) context, an all or nothing, either/or approach is not useful. As humans, we’re inevitably going to bring many thoughts and feelings to any table. The question, I suppose, is in how we can regard these — especially when there is inner turmoil or conflict — with some gentleness.

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We Need to Take Care of Our Endings

They’d likely not vacation together again, for more reasons than the woman would get into now. Needless to say, a day was just right. They stopped for ice cream before returning home, letting the summer day run long. She remembered how she used to have such a hard time saying goodbye, letting go. She still did.

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Thoughts About Class Privilege (from the McDonald’s Drive Thru)

It’s not pretty to look at the parts of ourselves that exemplify the things we say we’re against — entitlement, white privilege, intellectual snobbery. But to not look at these, to choose to stay cloistered, sheltered, more “successful” in ways society recognizes and values, and what we may have been taught would be “safer,” is inexcusable for anyone who claims to care about justice and humanity.

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When Denial Is No Longer an Option

In the end, it’s a quality of being honest that is liberating. For so long, I wasn’t fully honest. I lied outright about some things, like smoking, and in a more subconscious way about deeper things, things that I didn’t have names for, things that were so big I was afraid to expose them.

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