5.11.2012

Lit by Mary Karr

“Eventually I raise my hand high enough to get called on. I announce that I doubt I’m an alcoholic, since I never drink in the mornings, and nothing particularly bad has ever happened to me—not bankruptcy, car wreck, nor even the standard mugging. While I expect some indictment, everyone smiles that sugary smile I mistrust and nods, and the lady next to me whispers, Keeping coming."
Have you ever read a book where at the end you feel like you know the author? Like it would be perfectly normal to call them up and grab a cup of coffee? This is how I feel like Karr after reading her memoir Lit. She was an aspiring poet. She was a drunk. She pulled her head out of her ass, slowly, and sobered up. It was a struggle for her and the path was twisted and turned back around on itself at some points. Still, in the end, she’s on the recovery road.

Her story is a great illustration of the struggle of recovery, the fact that one rarely gets there in a straight line. The peace Karr finds before the death of her mother is so far from the anguish she lives in during her drinking days, it’s nothing short of a miracle. To see someone who struggled so fiercely with her spirituality find some serenity in time is truly inspiring. You’re not meant to figure out all of life’s secrets, but that doesn't mean you can’t find peace in the beauty life brings. Nobody’s perfect and nobody is meant to be.
"Good days, I see myself in others, and I know—in my bone marrow—nothing we truly love is ever lost, no matter what form it assumes. There are days when through fear and egoism I shake my fist at the sky, afterward feeling silly and worn out as a toddler post-temper tantrum.

Every now and then we enter the presence of the numinous and deduce for an instant how we’re formed, in what detail the force that infuses every petal might specifically run through us, wishing only to lure us into our full potential. Usually, the closest we get is when e love, or when some beloved beams back, which can galvanize you like steel and make resilient what had heretofore only been soft flesh… It can start you singing as the lion pads over to you, its jaws hinging open, its hot breath on you. Even unto death."

[You can hear Mary talk about the book here]

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