Where are our heroes? Where are our role models? Why are we leaving youth behind and laughing at the ones who are still there? Why not help each other out instead? With a little grace, with a little compassion. Love for all and everyone around because we’re all stumbling or succeeding back and forth, every day, and I want more community. I want helpers and guidance. Am I helping someone? I don’t know, but since the tender age of eighteen I have written down my stories and experiences of love and loss and youth, just so these stories can exist in the world. For someone out there to find and read and feel a voice in my words saying, “I’ve been there, I’ve done this, you can too: come, follow me.”
― Charlotte Eriksson, Everything Changed When I Forgave Myself: growing up is a wonderful thing to do
I thought home needed to be tall and luminous, a glowing building with a luxurious setting. Status. What I failed to understand is home is not where I place my head down at night or the color of my furniture. Home is the people I surrounded myself with, the ones I break bread with. The keepers of my secrets and my fears. It is to be loved and to give love without inhibitions.
Solitude is good for a time, but not for all time. Don’t forget to come back and embrace a community. Build one, if you must. Don’t neglect the sharing of yourself. Even those parts that are not so clean have value. In fact, the best lessons you have to offer in life come from your struggles in the darkness and grit of life.
You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)
And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
PS You have to be brave.
―Jeanette Winterson in Big Questions from Little People: And Simple Answers from Great Minds edited by Gemma Elwin Harris
I believe that half the trouble in the world comes from people asking ‘What have I achieved?’ rather than ‘What have I enjoyed?’ I’ve been writing about a subject I love as long as I can remember–horses and the people associated with them, anyplace, anywhere, anytime. I couldn’t be happier knowing that young people are reading my books. But even more important to me is that I’ve enjoyed so much the writing of them.
I may be too craving of that rich gift, the power of sharing other minds. I have drunk deeply, long, and oh! how blissfully at this fountain in a foreign clime. Hearts met hearts, minds joined with minds; and what were the secondary trials of pain to the enfeebled, suffering body when daily was administered the soul’s medicine and food!
I turn on my computer to search Craigslist for apartment listings. The wireless window pops up, and I realize with some regret that all I know about my neighbours is their wireless network names: Krypton, Space balls, Couscous, and Scarlet. From this I can tell little else than that they’re fans of Superman, Mel Brooks, Middle Eastern cuisine, and the colour red. I look out my window, wondering whose house is whose and what private food and entertainment consumption occurs in each and how I will never get to know.
If we are looking for insurance against want and oppression, we will find it only in our neighbors’ prosperity and goodwill and, beyond that, in the good health of our worldly places, our homelands. If we were sincerely looking for a place of safety, for real security and success, then we would begin to turn to our communities – and not the communities simply of our human neighbors but also of the water, earth, and air, the plants and animals, all the creatures with whom our local life is shared.
He was really trying to be my friend, without all the emotional baggage we both carried – mine still with me, but carefully folded in vacuum bags so they’d occupy as little room as possible and his, hanging on his shoulders like lead armor, making him slouch sometimes. And yet, as pinned down as he was, he was the one comforting me, supporting not only his weight but mine, too. It wasn’t fair.