How You Know Yourself

Watching the Olympic swimmers, my daughters wondered what went through the swimmers’ heads while they spent endless hours practicing their watery strokes. Intense concentration, or sometimes a grocery list?

I imagine that must be way they know the world, I answered. My older daughter at 17 uses photography as her own personal lens of knowledge. From a very young age, I knew the world through fiction, with an insatiable desire to read. An essay of mine about writing just appeared in Green Mountains Review, chock-full with the sun and the moon, wood stove ashes on the floor, a toddler and her tricycle. It’s my own particular story, my own grain of sand reflecting this bit of the universe.

And so I think of Michael Phelps and his teammates, male and female, their arms mightily stroking through the water, breathing in their knowledge of the world, sublimely sacred at times, no doubt profound to the bone at others.

When was writing ever your profession? It’s never been anything but your religion.

J.D. Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction

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