Okay, so Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was one of those books that significantly changed my life, and I really liked, as did the rest of the world it seems, The Poisonwood Bible, but I honestly cannot tell you what made me want to read Kingsolver’s essay collection Small Wonder. Maybe I read about it on a blog or in a review, and whoever turned me onto this book, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. This is the book that helped me start my book. No joke, no questions, this book did it.
There’s something about Kingsolver’s voice in this collection that just comes off as honest and true, not overly crafted or carefully worded. This isn’t a collection of wrought language and complex metaphor. These essays are just the writer’s perspective on a lot of issues from her daughter’s decision to raise chickens for their eggs to the U.S. flag to biodiversity. Each piece is – in the way of most things – political for it states a clear perspective and opinion on something, and I really like that. I like knowing where she stands, and knowing why she stands there. I feel like I’ve just finished a really good visit with a dear friend, a trip where we spent the day walking the beach or sitting by the fire and just talking – sometimes deeply, sometimes heatedly, but always honestly, in the way I only can with my closest friends.
The last page of the book, which is the last page of the essay “God’s Wife’s Measuring Spoons,” says this.
. . . still I suspect that the deepest of all human wishes, down there on the floor of the soul underneath the scattered rugs of lust and thirst and hunger, is the tongue-and-groove desire to be understood. And life is a slow trek along the path toward realizing how that wish will go unfulfilled. Such is the course of all wisdom: Others will see the front and the back, but inside is where we each live, in that home where only one heart will ever beat. There we have to make our peace with all we need of sorrow, and all we can ever know of the divine, by whatever name we call it.
What I can find is this, and so it has to be: conquering my own despair by doing what little I can. Stealing thunder, tucking it in my pocket to save for the long drought. Dreaming in the color green, tasting the end of anger. Don’t ask me for the evidence. The possibility of a kinder future, the existence of God – these are just two of many things fall into the category I would label “impossible to prove, and proof is not the point.” Faith has a life of its own.
And well, that about says it. This book is one that will sit on my shelf to be caressed and peeked into when I, too, am seeking to conquer by own despair by doing what little I can.
Daily Tally – 96 Miles, $1.75, cheese, pancakes, eggs, too few veggies and fruits