Possible keys

Mary Oliver : “The best use of literature bends not toward the narrow and absolute but to the extravagant and the possible. Answers are no part of it; rather it is the opinions, rhapsodic persuasions, the engrafted logics, the clues that are to the mind of the reader the possible keys to his own self-quarrels, his own predicament.”

In class this week, we read Sunday’s NY Times Book Review interview with an author: Fran Lebowitz. These columns invariably make me feel stupid: the books on the author’s bedside are weighty; I’ve often never heard of their favorite writers, never mind read them; their pithy, intellectual observations about books I have read, don’t ring any bells. That’s part of why Fran Lebowitz’s responses were so refreshing. They were so NOT that. Also, she’s just hilarious. Read the interview for a wholly different take on the best use of literature.

Meanwhile, it snows. Time seems out of joint. REALITY seems out of joint. My sister is not well. In between tough personal conversations and the outrageous stories of intrigue coming from Pennsylvania Avenue, I sew, I clean, I walk the dog. And sometimes I edit. This was a good week. I may have put four chapters to bed.


And, there’s always food! Tonight: roast chicken with cornbread stuffing and a delicious salad. The bird’s sizzle and aroma say: home, comfort. Plus, it’s Friday.


Lastly, from a TED talk about belief and doubt that I listened on my way up to Salem yesterday, one person’s answer (I think it was Billy Graham) to the question: so what has surprised you the most in your many years? He said, “the swiftness with which life passes.”

“The swiftness with which life passes.”

That, too, is on my mind.

7 thoughts on “Possible keys

  1. Stephanie

    I enjoyed the Fran Lebowitz piece, too. I also appreciated your comments about the By the Book author interviews; I come away feeling the same way.
    Such beautiful pictures you’ve included.
    “The swiftness with which life passes” is all too achingly true.

  2. Mo Crow

    ah well time flies, have been living on borrowed time since 2004 and now so is our muse Ariel, making this life even more bittersweet and beautiful and poignant than ever… and loving the signs of aging, the authentic marks deepened with the patina of time, Old Man Crow will be 70 this year!

  3. Nancy

    Such a life-filled post! I liked the interview as well and the last remark slayed me! Your foodie pics make me hungry and the snow sure can ease one, while peacefully looking at it online or out of the window with nowhere to go and no shoveling current responsibilities! I am sorry about your sister. Care for you as you care for her. Sending love and hugs, Nancy


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