August 2012

I love seeing the world through Paul’s eyes.

How emotions are not simple but can be opposing, like these in The Burning House that add depth and complexity to the descriptions.

Joan lay on the couch with an arm thrown over her face, a posture both carefree and desperate at once. (114)

If time could be sweetness, this was it. Sunday night, the sweetest night of the week. And lonesome too, slightly blue. All that work about to begin again, grinding and dull, on the other side of sleep. (49)

Here are some of my favorite passages from The Narrow Door, where I’ve underlined something on almost every page:

[S]pilling is our most inevitable condition. How much work goes into reining ourselves in at every moment when all we want to do is spill, spill? (110)

How many tasks does one not get done in a single day? That’s how most of us live our lives, but that’s not our problem right now. Denise’s family and I are holding ourselves still in the room of light. (200)

To think you can love someone so well that he’d forget the dead, forget his pain. To think of love as a laser beam of attention. (203)

Paul’s blog is cool. If you don’t know it, take a minute. Pick a card–any card. This morning I turned over the card “Present” from January 1st.

At a certain point this week I was running my thumb over photos on my phone. Terrible year, I’d been thinking, terrible. Terrible! And yet there were vivid trees, lightstruck shots of the sea, and faces (friends, strangers, me) that looked, well, awake, present–and dare I say, happy?  Happy in our dailiness. So this is why we make representations. This is why we put a frame around things. How else could we see otherwise?

See what I mean?

His new memoir, Later: My Life at the Edge of the World, will be out in March. From Graywolf,

When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving a history of family trauma behind to live in a place outside of time, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art. In this idyllic haven, Lisicky searches for love and connection and comes into his own as he finds a sense of belonging. At the same time, the center of this community is consumed by the AIDS crisis, and the very structure of town life is being rewired out of necessity: What might this utopia look like during a time of dystopia? Later dramatizes a spectacular-yet-ravaged place and a unique era when more fully becoming one’s self collided with the realization that ongoingness couldn’t be taken for granted, and staying alive from moment to moment exacted absolute attention.

To read how Paul spent one of his days in July 2012: How We Spend Our Days: Paul Lisicky

I love seeing the world through Paul’s eyes. I’m especially grateful for how he sees Tidal Flats.