Love, Loss, and Literacy
Winter and Wharton and Trump. While many settle into the chilly months with the promise of Superbowl, the Oscars, and, this year, a Presidential Inauguration to pass the time, I’m thinking of Edith. My winter tradition? Rereading Bunner Sisters. Published 100 years ago, this short novella of despair has captured my imagination for years.
What does this have to do with politics?
Well, actually, it’s about Emma-Watson style activism. It’s about Maya Angelou’s Mom and Me and Mom. It’s about a nation — OURS- facing massive divides, as any common ground and unity we once had seems to be shrinking in the rear view mirror of the past.
So this is a blog about finding possibilities in the pages of our favorite books. Even if the tale of the Bunner Sisters is, at least on the surface, depressing as hell.
In a nutshell, two sisters Ann Eliza and Evelina eek out a living in a dingy basement. It’s a hardscrabble existence, but they have each other, until a man, Ramy, enters their world. He brings ideas and possibilities and the sheer audacity of hoping for something more — something other than the steady predictability of their day-to-day lives.
I don’t want to give away the story, but Ramy’s promises give the sisters the courage to take a leap into the unknown. To leave the security they’ve always known — however bleak– for the possibility of something else.
The younger sister leaps into the unknown. In an selfless act of love, her older sister allows her to leap.
Like Maya Angelou’s autobiographical book, there’s a timeless theme of love, loss and reunion in The Bunner Sisters. A theme we might want to reflect on in 2017. Who we voted for in the 2016 election makes no difference at this point. No matter what the future brings, or whatever uncertainties visit our thoughts late at night, we are part of this historic time in the United States. Whatever losses we might feel, we still need to move forward to create possibilities.
To unite. To reunite. To come together as a nation.
Though I haven’t hidden any books around Portland, Oregon, I am leaving you with this link to be swept into the past with Bunner Sisters (free read), so that you might consider the future.