A good friend of mine gave me a small gift in 2011. It was an audio book of short stories from the artist Miranda July titled, “No One Belongs Here More Than You”. I was unfamiliar with Miranda’s work and researched her before reading - discovering that she was either fawned over by the uber-hip crowd or despised by the hipper-than-the-uber-hip-crowd. I was somewhat impartial to her work - a bit irritated but still impressed by the effort, the drive, and the volume of it. Maybe I was a little jealous too.
That was with her visual work though. The book was another story. I was hooked from the first line and listened without a pause through the end. I was overwhelmed with the desolation and the heartache. I was amazed with her ability to create such amplified fictional characters that somehow blurred the line between the heroic and the mundane. The stories were so exaggerated but so real and so believable. At the time, I couldn’t relate to these haunted tales. I certainly can now.
A wonderful excerpt from the sixth story in the book, “This Person”, can be read here.
Order your own personal copy here.
Instant gratification below:
“If you are sad, ask yourself why you are sad. Then pick up the phone and call someone and tell him the answer to the question. If you don't know anyone, call the operator and tell him. Most people don't know that the operator has to listen, it is a law. Also, the postman is not allowed to go inside your house, but you can talk to him on public property for up to four minutes or until he wants to go, whichever comes first.”
“Are you angry? Punch a pillow. Was it satisfying? Not hardly. These days people are too angry for punching. What you might try is stabbing. Take an old pillow and lay it on the front lawn. Stab it with a big pointy knife. Again and again and again. Stab hard enough for the point of the knife to go into the ground. Stab until the pillow is gone and you are just stabbing the earth again and again, as if you want to kill it for continuing to spin, as if you are getting revenge for having to live on this planet day after day, alone.”
“This person mourns the fact that she has ruined her one chance to be loved by everyone; as this person climbs into bed, the weight of this tragedy seems to bear down upon this person’s chest. And it is a comforting weight, almost human in heft. This person sighs. This person’s eyes begin to close, this person sleeps.”
“I don’t believe in psychology, which says everything you do is because of yourself. That is so untrue. We are social animals, and everything we do is because of other people, because we love them, or because we don’t.”
“We had loved people we really shouldn't have loved and then married other people in order to forget our impossible loves, or we had called out hello into the cauldron of the world and then run away before anyone could respond.”
“In the recurring dream everything has already fallen down, and I’m underneath. I’m crawling, sometimes for days, under the rubble. And as I crawl I realize that this one was the Big One. It was the earthquake that shook the whole world, and every single thing was destroyed. But this isn’t the scary part. That part always comes right before I wake up. I am crawling and then suddenly I remember: the earthquake happened years ago. This pain, this dying, this is just normal. This is how life is. In fact, I realize, there never was an earthquake. Life is just this way, broken, and I am crazy for dreaming something else.”
-Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You