Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How We Go On

As I was driving yesterday I heard Julia Glass on NPR talking about the book, "Warps The Mind a Little" by John Dufresne. I haven't read the book yet, but her review makes me want to.

But at the end of her piece she said something that jumped out at me, that I had to quickly write down before it escaped my brain.
"All the best novels are about one thing: how we go on."

I started rolling through my mental list of books I love and discovered she has hit the proverbial nail soundly on the proverbial head. How we go on. Yes, it's all about how we go on. How do we go on after love or death or both. How do we go on after embarrassment over things done or said. How do we go on when it seems impossible? How do we go on?

I'll be thinking about this in regard to my own writing.

Glass packs many beautiful phrases into this short piece, but I would be remiss in not quoting the full one regarding how we go on.
"All the best novels are about one thing: how we go on. The characters must survive the fallout of their own cowardice, folly, denial or misguided passion. They squander what matters most, and still they pick up the pieces. I've been there and, clearly, so has John Dufresne."

I've been there, too, but I've never expressed it so eloquently. This is truly an exercise in using the language judiciously. One way we go on is to write. Oh, to hope to use words well when doing so.

If you want to hear the delightful piece, or read an excerpt of the book, go to the NPR site.