Friday, May 16, 2008

Identity

Wow, two posts in one day. But I was reading some older blogs, and I noticed that one of the things that I often end up writing about is that tension between past and present, the balancing of who I was against who I am now. It reminded me of a quote that illustrates this idea so perfectly. It is out of Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose. This is one of those books like East of Eden or the Lord of the Rings trilogy which talk about the human condition as much as they tell a story. With no more ado, here is the passage.

"Familiar and unfamiliar swam and blended into a strangeness like dreaming as she saw Howie Drew’s face out of her girlhood against the mountainside of her present life. A wash of confused feeling went over her like wind across a sweating skin, for the identity that Howie took for granted and talked to and reflected back at her was not the identity it used to be, not the one that had signed all her past drawings, not the one she knew herself. Then what was it now? She didn’t know." (my italics).

I love this. It helps me to realize that I'm not the same person to my friends as I am to my husband or mom or children or boss or coworker. And that this is something that we all struggle with as we figure out who we are.

I love books that can do this. Thanks, Wallace, for putting this into words so beautifully.

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