Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paradise, Piece by Piece

by Molly Peacock

It's easy to think of life as a series of additions: adding knowledge, skills, friendships, a spouse, a home, children. In poet Molly Peacock's memoirs, we're reminded that what's subtracted from our lives - through fate or through choice - can be just as important. Peacock seems to start her life with a frighteningly full plate and gradually learns to choose what she wants to let go of, making her way towards a life that's the right size for her. Of course, as in any life, this is not a simple, sure path.

Peacock's prose is beautiful, and her story, of a creative person finding balance, is inspiring. Though she seems to understand early in her life that she doesn't want children, she says it's a choice one is consistently remaking. Is she cutting herself off from life, or freeing herself? How can the same family be a launchpad for one child and quicksand for another? She has no simple answers, but I very much enjoyed her point(s) of view.

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