Thursday, January 12, 2017

Connections and disconnections

I just finished Delia Ephron's book of personal essays, Sister Mother Husband Dog. A quote that stood out to me:

"All I want is for someone not to change something I love. All I want is for someone to keep it simple."

She's talking about the relentless march of technological upgrades, about which I agree--I don't see the point of arbitrarily moving buttons from the left side of the screen to the right, or vice versa. Or adding dozens of new features that I didn't want and never use. Or hiding the menu so you can't find what you need. But those sentences, pulled from their context, also can stand on their own in a more general sense. We've all lost what we loved, or seen it change for the worse, at some point in our lives. We've all had a perfect thing or place or situation that deteriorated, or closed down, or moved away. It was going along so well ... and then it wasn't anymore.

But then--if I want to go down that rabbit hole, I can also reread Joan Didion's Blue Nights, an entire book that meditates on loss, and change, and how swiftly it all occurs.

I'm also reading Rebecca Solnit's The Faraway Nearby. It's coincidental that I've been reading this at the same time as Ephron's book, but both books deal with losing mothers to chronic, personality-changing illnesses--Alzheimer's in one case, alcoholism in the other. In both books, the mother-daughter relationships were complicated and not warm-and-fuzzy even before the onset of illness.

I like finding multiple books that deal with the same subject. It enables me to consider it from even more angles. It's as if the authors are bouncing ideas off each other through me.

4 comments:

  1. This is cool--I like the connection from technical details to Life stuff. And I think I need to look at Delia Ephron'a essays. For me, reading multiple books about the same kind of thing can feel a bit like overload. Which makes no sense, since I love series books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This book is a relatively quick read. So it shouldn't bog you down.

      Delete
  2. Technology definitely changes too quickly for me. I finally learn something and it changes. And life? It never stops changing. I have two good friends who have lost parents to Alzheimer's. It's crushing. But that's when friends step in to help. I'll have to check out these reads. Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing them. All best to you in 2017.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also to you!
      They say the only constant is change.

      Delete