When I was in college, a friend introduced me to critical theory and warned, “You will never be happy again.” He was sort of right, but being an eternal optimist, I managed to channel my feelings into anger instead of being depressed like my friend. Having grown up a shooting academic star in a working-class, union household, I thought that if I worked hard enough on the right project, I could accomplish anything. Work, work, work. My identity and political interests all revolved around work.
Archive for the ‘ 10th Letters ’ Category
Most of my associates have not been following this project over the summer. I have been excited about taking on the intensity of writing (and reading) every week but have done it largely alone. The web site hasn’t been that active. Comments on my blog have been nearly non-existent. Even the weekly study group at the center of my social life is reading this book without me (as my job has interfered with my ability to be with the group). I have even avoided, by and large, reading the contributions by Artnoose and others out of concern of repeating points, losing focus, or being responsive rather than proactive in sharing my thoughts. I approached this 10 (12) week project much as I approached the book itself, alone.
As I said in my introductory entry, years ago I told someone I was somewhat envious that he was about to read this last section for the first time, that the ending was that good. While Sophia’s half of the story had its climax in her ninth letter, Yarostan’s story peaks here, specifically during and directly after the engagement party/spectacle that Mirna orchestrates for Jasna and Titus. The mystery is solved, and friendships that have lasted for years begin to unravel.
The real strength in this section, however – and one of the main themes of the book in general – is how it isn’t too late for Yarostan, or Mirna, or Jasna, or anybody else for that matter. Perspectives can take decades to develop, and that’s okay. Yarostan ends his story apologizing for “twenty years of ignorance” but somehow when I see the person he has become, it doesn’t seem to matter.