Mescaline, step aerobics, Pike’s Peak
When Pablo Casals reached ninety-five, a young reporter asked him a question: “Mr. Casals, you are ninety-five and the greatest cellist who ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day?” Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”
Out Of The Ashes: Violence And Its Aftermath
An Interview With Judith Herman
Once you’ve seen, up close, the evil human beings are capable of, you’re not going to see the world, other people, or even yourself the same way again. Those of us who’ve never had such an experience might imagine how brave or cowardly we would be in extreme situations, but people who’ve been exposed to those situations know what they did and didn’t do. And, almost inevitably, they failed to live up to some expectation they had of themselves.
I have been in many women’s groups: walking groups, writing groups, ritual groups, clothing-exchange groups, exercise groups, even a long-ago Tupperware group. So it wasn’t odd to hear Sarah talk, at a meeting of my oldest women’s group, about an entirely different group of women with whom she met. These women rode horses into the deepest part of the woods, and upon arrival, each told a secret.
At forty, you may have half your life in front of you; at fifty-two, it’s not likely. In your thirties you may worry about losing your looks; in your fifties you worry about losing your capacities.
One Hand Clapping
I studied Ram Dass’s spiritual odyssey as if it were a map to some mysterious continent whose existence I’d only recently discovered. A year earlier, I’d taken LSD for the first time; I, too, had experienced a radical shift in consciousness as I’d glimpsed my true self, and tasted the glory at the heart of creation.
The Girl Everything Was Done To
She’d been abducted by a man she described as “dark, maybe a foreigner,” and held at an abandoned farmhouse in a remote section of woods, fairly close to where I lived. She had been raped by this dark stranger.
When He Had It On
The videotape began with a Japanese family standing in front of the Statue of Liberty. I’d never seen them before. There was a mother, a son, and a daughter. The father, I assumed, was behind the camera. They had on all the gear: Big Apple T-shirts, Yankees hats, Nikon necklaces.
The sound of him, like all the pain a person could possibly hold, saved up over a lifetime, rose up the face of the cliff and seemed to blow and fade through the tops of the pines and dash through the surrounding hills like a quick-moving storm.