Stop, and Be

ONan Book May 2019

I could excuse my lapse in writing here by saying, hey, I was busy just living my life, and that would be true. Or refer you to the third book in the series being written about the mishaps that seem to characterize my life in New York City, “Capturing the High Priestess,” which should be available on soon. That explains a lot about the crap that’s rained down since readers were left hanging after the shootout in New York Harbor on New Year’s Eve; I find that kind of “cliff-hanger” writing unconscionable, by the way; just a cheap ploy to make readers rise up and demand the next episode. (I suppose it worked for Dickens, but I digress.)

I am instead going to recommend this lovely book, by a lovely writer, Stewart O’Nan, late of Pittsburgh after quite a few years living in the Constitution State. (Wow, can we get to that later? The restoration and protection of our Constitution? Ooops, another digression. I seem to be having trouble focusing.)

Anyway, Mr. O’Nan writes these lovely, almost plot-less books that are slow and quiet but reveal so much about the truly important things in life. It make a reader want to stop and take a breath. Like, maybe a garden does contain the secret to happiness, and I’ve been missing it all this time. His books contain familiar characters (there are three in this group now: Henry and his wife Emily are each featured in their own way in “Emily, Alone” and “Wish You Were Here.”

Being alone is hard, yes. But the dance of a relationship is harder, I think. And working out the terms of a marriage, especially one that lasts for decades, is the ultimate challenge. Who you are at the beginning and how you change is inextricably meshed with your partner…for better or worse. Struggle, joy, stagnation, peace, compromise: so many words. But it’s the little things you do every day, together and apart, that make it add up to life.

I’m placing this piece in my “Art” category despite the fact that my colleagues will protest. But if we don’t consider literature as one of the arts, then there’s something wrong with the definition. So, here is a work of art, by Stewart O’Nan. Engineer by training, storyteller by vocation.


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