Choosing Life

David Grossman says of his new novel, To the End of the Land, “This book was such an act of choosing life.” I read this in George Packer’s wonderful profile of Grossman, “The Unconsoled,” in the September 27 New Yorker. Packer tells of the death of Grossman’s second son, Uri, in battle and Grossman’s courageous return to the novel afterward. Now I want to read Grossman’s work, and I used his example yesterday when I spoke to parents who’ve lost children at the Pilgrimage of the Lost Child.

Two weeks ago I read with Andrew C. Park, author of Between a Church and a Hard Place, at the Wisconsin Book Festival and enjoyed a great dialogue. We were both raised without religion, and he remains unchurched, trying to answer his son’s questions about God and exploring the faith of his ancestors, while I am Catholic and try to answer my granddaughter’s question: how can you believe in God? Both Andrew and I care about religious diversity and understanding the other.

In Madison I stayed with college friend Biby and her husband Bob, and on Sunday they took me to mass at Holy Wisdom Monastery, an ecumenical Benedictine community. Like Taizé, it includes Protestants and Catholics together, and the celebrant on this occasion was a Protestant minister. The beautiful building is at peace with its environment and received the highest level of LEED certification. Now there’s a life-affirming choice!

Quick, before plums went out of season, I wanted to make an apple-plum flan and send it to food52. It’s one of very few recipes I can say I developed myself (though of course it has ancestors). You can read the recipe here.

I am the author of The Crack between the Worlds: a dancer's memoir of loss, faith and family, one of Image Update's Ten Best of 2009. My first novel, A Free, Unsullied Land, was published by Fomite Press. I am a Board member of Links Hall, an incubator and presenter of dance and performance art.

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