Burrowing Into the Shell

In the afterword of her late husband’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, Lucy Kalanithi writes about retreating into the meat of her marriage after his cancer diagnosis, seeking succor. In different ways, I see my own children gathering strength from friendships, art, running – all creative, growing activities, rather than comfort in destructive habits. Early this morning, I found myself pulling the predawn darkness around me, the familiar patterns of wood stove kindling, coffee grinding, and reading.

I was also thinking of my brother and his insistence that free will and responsibility are central human tenets. Or, I might rephrase, small lights as a way out of the darkness.

“…Have you done anything good? Anything beautiful? Have you created anything? Music? Art? Have you made anything better? Even in a small way? A small light in this dark world? Have you even been happy?”

She throws the lit nub of the cigarette out the window. “You should ask yourself what the hell you think you’re here for.”

Melanie Finn, The Gloaming

Burlington, Vermont

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s