April 4, 2016

While writing the first draft of my memoir, I used this line from Dorianne Laux’s “Antilamentation” as my compass: “You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake.” It seemed the perfect caption, and in a way, it still is. But now I think it only tells part of the story. Two and a half years later, I’m starting on my fourth revision, and this time, I’m intoning C.S. Lewis’s words from his preface to The Great Divorce: “I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A wrong sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit.”

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