The Year of Magical Thinking
Important Quotations Explained
1. I was
thinking as small children think, as if my thoughts or wishes had
the power to reverse the narrative, change the outcome. In my case
this disordered thinking had been covert, noticed I think by no
one else, hidden even from me, but it had been, in retrospect, both
urgent and constant.
2. In time
of trouble, I had been trained since childhood, read, learn, work
it up, go to the literature. Information was control. Given that
grief remained the most general of afflictions its literature seemed
3. That I
was only beginning the process of mourning did not occur to me.
Until now, I had only been able to grieve, not mourn. Grief was
passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief,
turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate
(we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look
beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined
5. I found
earthquakes, even when I was in them, deeply satisfying, abruptly
revealed evidence of the scheme in action. That the schemes could
destroy the works of man might be a personal regret but remained,
in the larger picture I had come to recognize, a matter of abiding indifference.
No eye was on the sparrow. No eye was watching me.
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