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There is the obvious karmic, good-energy stuff of not giving in to the dark side. It feels so much better to go to the gratitude place. And just as there is always something to feel bitter about, there is always something to feel grateful for. But there is also a practical side for writers, for all creative people, for all people, really. It can be oddly satisfying to wallow in bitterness. For about two seconds. And then you get pulled under and have to expend all this energy just swimming, keeping your head above water. Energy that would otherwise be spent creating.
I asked him did he really love New York or was he just wearing the shirt. He smiled, like he was nervous. I could tell he didn’t understand, which made me feel guilty for speaking English, for some reason. I pointed at his shirt. “Do? You? Really? Love? New York?” He said, “New York?” I said, “Your. Shirt.” He looked at his shirt. I pointed at the N and said “New,” and the Y and said “York.” He looked confused, or embarrassed, or surprised, or maybe even mad. I couldn’t tell what he was feeling, because I couldn’t speak the language of his feelings. “I not know was New York. In Chinese, ny mean ‘you.’ Thought was ‘I love you.’ ” It was then that I noticed the “I♥NY” poster on the wall, the “I♥NY” flag over the door, and the “I♥NY” dishtowels, and the “I♥NY” lunchbox on the kitchen table. I asked him, “Well, then why do you love everybody so much?
I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.
Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.
If you think in pictures, write. If you think in words, paint.
The relationship of a girl and her favorite novel can be complex indeed.
My work comes out of both an intense desire for connection and what it means to feel isolated. There’s always going to be a kind of tidal movement back and forth between the two. Art and literature have given so many people the relief of feeling connected—pulled us out of isolation. It has let us know that somebody else breathed and dreamed and had sex and loved and raged and knew loneliness the way we do.