Thursday, March 25, 2010

I came across a quote the other day that caused me to pause; I wished I had been given this line years ago so I could have used it again and again.

Of course, despite my immediate thought that this quote would without doubt make it onto my blog, I did in the meantime return the book to the library, but I won't be dissueded. Please allow me the liberty of paraphrasing.

But first, let me sing the praises of this book, which you should go to your library today to check out. It is Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett, and it is a true and beautiful account of her friendship with the poet and writer Lucy Grealy, whose face was disfigured as the result of a childhood cancer. Her life is consumed with the ensuing surgeries to attempt to rebuild her face, and one could imagine that this, combined with the whole cancer-survival and other side effects of radiation, that she is one hell of an amazing woman. And she is, or was, rather, as she sadly died in 2002. I was left reeling in my rocking chair from this book, this frank, honest, raw account of a beautiful friendship between these two women. I was left feeling as if I knew, oddly, Ann herself, moreso rather than Lucy, about whom the book was written. Don't get me wrong, I feel as if I know Lucy as well, but Ann's voice (and here I use her first name, because I do feel as if I could walk into a room with her and just say, Hi, Ann, and start leafing through a magazine as if we'd known each other for ages and had almost run out of topics to cover) is so predominant and her love for Lucy makes the reader so enamoured with her.....

but I digress, and there is this fabulous moment where Lucy is at a reading and a fan says to her, and again, I'm not quoting since I returned the book, You're so brave. I don't think I could have survived such a thing.

(and how many times have we babylost folks heard this? And would we not have said this about ourselves before strangely surviving the loss?)

Lucy meets the woman's eye and says without a pause, "Meaning what, you would have died? It doesn't work that way, unless you kill yourself."


I wish I had such wit and speed.

(and please do not make me out to be comparing my life experience with Lucy Grealy's in the slightest... it's just that I've heard that line, the "I could never have survived it" line, SO many times....)


Hope's Mama said...

Oh yes, me too. I'm sure we all have.
I often wonder what people think, if anything, when the say that. As it clearly implies that they would chose death over carrying on and living with out them. And in reality, for the vast majority of us, that just isn't an option. Being brave is going on and living without them, in my opinion. It takes all the courage and strenghth I have inside of me to keep doing that.
Oh, and glad you got a moment alone to read a book!

caitsmom said...

YES!!! That's the best response I've heard so far!!! Beautiful. Thanks for posting. Peace.

Hennifer said...

I read that book a few years ago, it rocked my world.

My dear best friend lives in NY and even though our lives only share that one bit in common it spoke to me on so many levels...

That is quite the comeback for sure!

Jen said...

What a brilliant comeback. I love it. So forthright and true.

Sara said...

I had forgotten that bit, but a very good response.

Have you read Autobiography of a Face?

kris said...

Oh, Carol. So much beauty and honesty in these last 2 posts. Thank you.

jojo said...

Lucy taught at Sarah Lawrence while I was there. Though I never studied with her, I do recall seeing her walking around campus in her black leather jacket. A person can truly be frail and tough at the same time.
Truth and Beauty, so sad, but full of fierceness. We should all have a friend like Ann Patchett. Have you read her novel The Patron Saint of Liars?

kris said...

jojo, Patron Saint is fabulous, I agree!