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Mary Oliver. Essays.

I have been reading Mary Oliver's book of essays/memoir Upstream. One passage I found especially powerful and true:

And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life. (Oliver's italics)


I don't mean it's easy or assured; there are the stubborn stumps of shame, grief that remains unsolvable after all the years, a bag of stones that goes with one wherever one goes and however the hour may call for dancing and for light feet. But there is, also, the summoning of the world, the admirable energies of the world, better than anger, better than bitterness and, because more interesting, more alleviating. And there is the thing one does, the needle one plies, the work, and within that work a chance to take thoughts that are hot and formless and to place them slowly and with meticulous effort into some shapely heat-retaining form, even as the gods, or nature, or the soundless wheels of time have made forms all across the soft, curved universe-that is to say, haven chosen to claim my life, I have made for myself, out of work and love, a handsome life.
 

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