The right thing to do is so easy to see when you're seventeen years old and don't have to make any big decisions. When you know that no matter what you do, someone will take care of you and fix everything. But when you're grown up, the world is not that black and white, and the right thing doesn't a tidy little arrow pointing to it.
Every single person is vulnerable to unexpected defeat in this inmost emotional self. At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person's childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It's their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can't understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That's the carrier of all the living qualities. It's the centre of all the possible magic and revelation.
Reading all my old love letters was disorienting. You remember thinking the thoughts and writing the words but, man, you can't TOUCH those feelings. Its like they belonged to someone else. Someone you don't even know. I'm aware, in an intellectual way. That I felt all those things about him, but this emotions are far away now.What's so strange to me is that I can't even force my heart back to that place where I felt that all consuming passion. That makes me feel distant from myself. Who WAS I then? Will I ever be able to get back to that place? Reading the letters again made me wonder: Which is the real me? The one who saw the world in that emotionally saturated way, or the me who sees it the way I do now?
6. Sleep with a bra on every night in fear of your boobs dropping should you forget. Intermediate: Don't wear a bra in the daytime. Advanced: Forget bras and wear the T-shirt you got for your eighth birthday. Act offended if anyone stares at the new shape of the word . Wear the shirt until your mother asks what smells.
The boy and the man must be raised to see the possibility of self worth, then meet a few others who provide the vision of a road toward it, then spend a lifetime pursing that worth through action and relationship. One of the great tragedies in human life is to be born a male and not be guided toward the value of a man.
The people they had been last summer, the person she had been--Dicey guessed she'd never be afraid again, not the way she had been all summer. She had taken care of them all, sometimes well, sometimes badly. And they had covered the distances. For most of the summer, they had been unattached. Nobody knew who they were or what they were doing. It didn't matter what they did, as long as they all stayed together. Dicey remembered that feeling, of having things pretty much her own way. And she remembered the feelings of danger. It was a little bit like being a wild animal, she thought to herself. Dicey missed that wildness. She knew she would never have it again. And she missed the sense of Dicey Tillerman against the whole world and doing all right.
...TV was entertainment of the last resort. There was nothing on during the day in the summer other than game shows and soap operas. Besides, a TV-watching child was considered available for chores: take out the trash, clean your room, pick up that mess, fold those towels, mow the lawn... the list was endless. We all became adept at chore-avoidance. Staying out of sight was a reliable strategy. Drawing or painting was another: to my mother, making art trumped making beds. A third choir-avoidance technique was to read. A kid with his or her nose in a book is a kid who is not fighting, yelling, throwing, breaking things, bleeding, whining, or otherwise creating a Mom-size headache. Reading a book was almost like being invisible - a good thing for all concerned.