This is the quote I ought to have posted for Thanksgiving. It (and the beautiful snippets that follow) are, in general, more gems from Lorrie Moore, in particular, from a novel called Anagrams. Here, the protagonist, Benna, watches her daughter repeat Thanksgiving grace and ponders children, the past and gratitude.
“You cannot be grateful without possessing a past. That is why children are incapable of gratitude and why night prayers and dinner graces are lost on them. “Gobbles Mommy, Gobbles Grandpa…” George races through it. She has no reference points. As I get older the past widens and accumulates, all sloppy landlessness like a river, and as a result I have more clearly demarcated areas of gratitude. Things like ice cream or scenery or one good kiss become objects of huge soulful thanks. Nothing is gobbled. This is a sign of getting old.” (116)
This is a particular favorite of mine. It hurt the first time I read it; I identified. I didn’t necessarily want to. I loved it all the same. This one is thought/spoken by Benna, too.
“Words, I think, words are all you need for love–you say them and then just for the hell of it your heart rises and spills over into them. My idea in a love affair is that if everyone makes enough declarations, one of them is bound to come true. Words are interesting that way.” (148)
And the last–which I appreciate, but certainly would have appreciated more ’round March of 2007 whilst penning ye olde undergrad thesis.
“How can she say that she has begun to think that all writing about art is simply language playing so ardently with itself that it goes blind?” (56)