On a spectrum of postures toward religious faith that runs from organized hostility to muffled contempt to resigned forbearance to never-crosses-my-mind indifference to against-my-better-judgment curiosity to serious interest to fellow-traveling to heartfelt engagement to missionary fervor, where do you place yourself, and how does that dispose you to others’ positions?
My father. He wanted me to become a writer, but when I did, he didn’t like what I wrote.
He hated my first novel and called it pornography: it features lots of teenage sex and masturbation, as well as an unsavory portrayal of a narcissistic and selfish patriarch.
We say yes when we mean I would rather not. We say no when we mean I would say yes except for all the times yes has proven to be a terrible idea. We say no thank you when every fiber in our bodies is moaning oh yes please. We say you cannot when what we mean is actually you can but you sure by God ought not to. We say no by not saying anything whatsoever.
I had once believed in answers, saviors, miracles, and sages; divine justice and ideal love; the discovery of a lost Taoist parable or a missing biblical passage; a scientific intervention or progressive sociopolitical system that would liberate the oppressed; perhaps even news from NASA about habitable planets accepting applications for novelists. But I knew now that none of this would happen. The letter from a publisher, the spiritual breakthrough, the scientific solution, the literary prize, the big-hearted city, the understanding woman — they were all a mirage.
There are five essential sweaters I need this season, and one must-have denim that’s guaranteed to flatter every body style, even mine. There are eleven things I could throw away today to reduce clutter immediately and start living my life more freely. Why am I waiting? There are only three more hours to purchase buy-one-get-two-free candles that provide over 150 hours of burn time.
The second portal to Mere had been two feet high and three feet across. Amber knew this because later she returned to that exact spot beside the woods and measured where the portal had been using her wooden school ruler. She did not know the size of the first portal because she had been much younger then — just six; she was seventeen now — and so she had overlooked many important details.