"Adulthood had come slowly to me. The quiescence of a childhood chasing butterflies and picking roadside weeds stretched on and on, and then I metamorphosed from a creature cocooned in the mind to one unfurling to the world, my inward eye suddenly turned outward. Dazzled by all there was to see, I flitted here and there, across continents, tasting the earth with my feet then taking off again, with no trajectory or destination discernible to me other than the next shining spectacle, the next wondrous or strange encounter. Sure, I tried to be useful wherever I was—teaching or reporting while I was on the clock, building houses and playgrounds whenever I was off—but I was never wherever I was for very long."
The Lifecycle of The Butterflies, by Molly Beer.
"On the continuum of African experiences, children are closer to lions than adults…You can gaze directly at very poor children in a way that you cannot look at adults. A child is a recognizable thing, even in a foreign place.”
Today on Vela: “The Limits of Compassion,” examining the failures and successes of a massive AIDS relief program in Africa, and one journalist’s struggle to decide what and how to give.
Amy Bloom reflects on the photographs, music, and movies that inspired her new novel, “Lucky Us”: http://nyr.kr/1o029UD
“My mother’s favorite photograph was one of herself, at twenty-four years old, unbearably beautiful, utterly glamorous, in a black-straw cartwheel hat, dark-red lipstick, and a smart black suit, her notepad on a cocktail table. I know nothing about that woman.”
Photograph courtesy of the author
Women We Read This Week: Student perspectives on the role of adjunct professors in higher ed, revisiting childhood classics, and the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship. Some stellar pieces by Rachel Riederer, Michelle Nijhuis, Aimee Bender, and Marcia Aldric.
I think I came to and still come to writing as a sounding board—and I mean that in both senses. As a way not just to record experience, but to be or to have one, to investigate one’s habitus. What’s that Oppen line: “There are things we live among and to see them is to know ourselves.” I think of it as a way of seeing more deeply.
"It isn’t an exaggeration to say we receive far more fully fleshed-out, pre-reported pitches from women writers."
Brittany Shoot discusses 7 of her favorite nature, science, and technology writers on our Bookmarked column this week.
"Over the millennia, humans have learned to swim like fish, to travel underground like burrowing creatures, to race like horses, and to fly like birds, and then improved upon each method. To navigate we’ve piled rock cairns, mapped rivers, charted the very stars. Our bodies are moved by light and time, and cycle by the moon. But the real mechanism that drives us forward is imagination. Over that next hill, over that far horizon, we each hope or pray or choose to take on faith, awaits us paradise, or victory, or truth, or home. And that thought, like magnetic pull, impels us over uncharted seas, across the globe, and into wide open space."
The Lifecycle of Butterflies, by Molly Beer.