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7.24.2011

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Sometimes I write elaborate blog posts only to delete them moments before publishing. It's a good thing, both for you and for me. I was about to wax angry and uneloquent on all the fuss over Amy Winehouse when more tragic things have happened in the last twenty-four hours or so. But the fuss is understandable, and I have reminded myself to be sympathetic in all things. I will try.

The difference lies in our choices. Amy Winehouse is a tragedy, because she is the portrait of Dorian Gray. She is a reminder of what our choices mean, what they look like when they are worn on our skin. A reminder that we are all one ugly decision away from that kind of living hell. When we look at her and read the verse "for the wages of sin is death," we begin to wonder if it's talking about punishment - or inevitable consequences.

Norway is a different kind of tragedy. We are talking about a massacre of innocents. They're both tragedies, and I suppose the former is better suited to speckle my Facebook wall than the latter. Because the former might make me shake my head and sigh and maybe Google some headlines. But the later will make me shut myself in a quiet room and cry.

I knew this before I read the paper this morning. I was in Edinburgh when I read about the man who shot the Amish children, the little girls in their smocks and clean white bonnets, and I really did shut myself in the toilet and sob. I remembered the Amish children on the train from Chicago to Washington D.C. I remembered when the little boy handed his father a bunch of string, and the man coiled it playfully and thoughtlessly through his fingers for over an hour, delighting in that motion with the same simple childlike simplicity of the precious children around him. I remembered how I yearned to be like them, not in my dress or habits, but in my heart. I remembered them as I tried to keep my voice down so that my flatmates wouldn't wonder what was wrong. They would think it odd, because I hadn't lost anyone personally. Yes, odd. But so it is.

Now I think of Norway. I remember the first time I saw a picture of the fjords. I remember the language, and all the incomprehensible lilts and tilts it takes on the tongue. I think of it as an English speaking person, as Tolkien might once have done, viewing it with the awed distance of one who honors the presence of something more ancient and epic than my own patchwork bloodline has ever known. I think of the tongues who once spoke it, who will speak it no more.

I am sad tonight. Can you tell?

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