The Stranger opens and closes with death.
I’ve read it four times now. I tend to turn to it when I am searching for some sort of direction, advice, or illumination in life. It never provides these things, of course. It is not that sort of book. None of the best ones are.
I interviewed for a job recently, largely off the strength of this blog. The interviewer, who, after clicking around this site surely knew a lot more about me than I’d like, said: “The thing I like about you is your authenticity. You seem to be honest, no matter what you’re talking about.”
This was a big compliment for me, even though I ended up not getting the job.
Even now, the comment still warms me from within. It means I am doing something right. It means I am being the person I want to be. The kind words multiple interviewers gave me about this project warmed me against the sting of rejection.
Why does that word carry such a positive charge for me? And why is it such a deadly sin—in my perception—to be fake?
These are the questions that were knocking around in my head while I reread “Catcher in the Rye.”
Howl by Alan Ginsberg begins with one of the most iconic lines in American poetry:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness
[this is a serial feature. Read the previous entry here, or start at the beginning here. Thanks!]
The next day I resolved to escape Thamel.
I awoke with a sore throat and a cough — a common traveler’s affliction in Kathmandu.
The past two days had been exhausting; and without a trek to take, my motivation to go back and tangle with the shopkeepers and hustlers was low.
I strolled over to Himalayan Java, where I again purchased the big breakfast and two coffees. I brought along my computer and researched treks. Remembering the woman I had met in Himalayan Java yesterday, I expanded my search to include the Annapurna treks.
And you thought YOUR childhood was messed up.
“The Glass Castle” is a family memoir by Jeanette Walls, detailing her trauma-racked childhood, growing up with an abusive father and a neglectful mother.
That’s how other people might summarize the story. But it’s not how Walls tells it.