Stories told are usually not what is heard. Perspective!

The Faraway Nearby - Rebecca Solnit
I loved this massive quilt of patchwork essays embroidered with new words, derivations, original ideas, folk lore, stories, and personal truths which are spun by Rebecca Solnit, an author who I have never heard of and know nothing about. I take that back. As I read this brilliant and textured work, I learned a lot about her and her values and fears and her erudition.
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If you are looking for college essays with an introduction, a body and a conclusion, this is not for you. Her titles are her inspiration. Her stories are spun from there, but go in many different directions. She may discuss Frankenstein , Che Guevara , leprosy and apricot liqueur in one essay, her thread stitching the stories together seamlessly . 

I underlined at least 50 times because she was able to express so much, so clearly. Like an appliqué.

“We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or hate, to see or be seen. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become a story-teller.”

She described her mother "as a book coming apart,pages drifting away, words blurring, letters falling off, the paper turning to pure white..." Have you ever heard a more apt description of someone you knew who was deteriorating due to Alzheimer's Disease?

She writes about empathy, heroism, envy and perspective. This is not a text book, nor is it a set of Commandments, though she does teach academic and moral lessons. She shows us, the readers, that the story is important, but it changes as it is told, retold, heard and reheard.

I can not do this collection of essays which is really a nesting of stories justice. They require a lot of attention because they are not simple and stand alones. They are connected, finely stitched, personal and universal.