Feb 19Liked by Alissa Mears

First, there's the brilliant interplay between your personal experience and the work of a vast array of thinkers like Helen Fisher, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Sharon Olds (and a brief nod to Agatha Christie, too!). Nobody has ever written an essay that includes the work of those figures. You do this dazzling, deft weaving better than almost anyone I've read. It's one of your many gifts, and it's on full display here.

But what I especially admire about this essay is the way you invert our assumptions about the subject. The break-up not as pure devastation but as the seedbed for reinvention and creative possibility. It reminds of this chapter in Annie Dillard's An American Childhood (which I just reread and which I cannot overpraise) which begins: "Young children have no sense of wonder." You begin by saying, "What!?" and conclude by saying, "Now I see."

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I credit you for giving me permission to weave so many midsummers ago. And I cherish your comments, Jeff. And your recommendations always! I haven't read An American Childhood, but I will be next week. Thank you, thank you, friend.

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