With fists, with words, with kindness
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I stopped going to church the night Diane Pearson announced God filled her cavities. That same night, in the spring of 1973, the police arrested my sister, Sheila.
“Darn,” said the eye man. “Darn.” He ran a hand through his long black hair and shook his head. “OK,” he finally said. “OK, OK, OK. Here it is, right? Here it is: I can’t make eyes that will help her son see. No, I can’t do that. But I will make him eyes that will help everyone else see.”
I stood up and reeled. Blood washed from my brain. My vision began to shrink, and the people in the room seemed separated from me by some fold in the air.
I meet with Mikhail Bazankov, a Russian novelist, who tells me the dissolution of the Soviet Union has been a mixed blessing for writers. With the Russian economy in shambles, he explains, it’s difficult to get books published and distributed.
The country is barren, sand-hills and pines stretching from north to south for 400 miles in either direction from Norfolk to the Florida line. William Tecumseh Sherman stopped in February of 1865, fresh from the March to the Sea and the burning of Columbia. Finding nothing to destroy, he paused and then went elsewhere, looking for something worthy of his attention. The natives stayed on, rooted on the land, mournful, gradually becoming Americans with cars, trips to the K-Mart, factory jobs and televisions.