I have a stack of Elizabeth Berg novels on my bookcase. Her non-fiction book, Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True, is on my shelf as well. I have read it more than once, and it has multiple sticky notes in it.
Last year, her memoir I’ll Be Seeing You was published and it was part of my haul from my first in-person visit to a public library. (In case you missed it, you can read about it here.)
Ms. Berg writes about her parents — their love, their marriage, their aging process, their need to move from a home they loved.
It was an honest, beautiful, tender read.
One she was hesitant to write and share with the public.
“But all that’s happening with my parents now: Is it unfair to publish my thoughts about it, to make it available to anyone who cares to have a look? Would I want someone writing about me losing my facilities? The answer is I don’t know. But I think if it served a larger purpose, I wouldn’t mind.”
This week, I’d like to share just a few passages that moved me:
“Mostly, I feel grateful to be the age that I am now. You lose some things, growing older, but you gain other, more important things: tolerance, gratitude, perspective, the unexpected pleasure in doing things more slowly. It’s not a bad trade, except that you are increasingly aware that your number will be up sooner rather than later.”
“But the women in my group are writers, with an innate understanding of what art demands, requires, and does. They, too, have a reflexive need to document everything that happens to them or to others close to them, one way or another.”
“Yes, life is a minefield at any age. Sometimes we feel pretty certain that we know what’s coming. But really, we never do. We just walk on. We have to. If we’re smart, we count our blessings between the darker surprises. And hope for a fair balance. When I look at my parents’ lives, I know they were lucky. And still are.”