By Toni Morrison
I took my heart out and gave it to a writer made heartless by fame, someone who needed it to pump blood into veins desiccated by the suck and roar of crowds slobbering or poisoning or licking up the red froth they mistake for happiness because happiness looks just like a heart painted on a valentine cup or tattooed on an arm that has never held a victim or comforted a hurt friend. I took it out and the space it left in my chest was sutured tight like the skin of a drum.
As my own pulse failed, I fell along with a soft shower of rain typical in this place.
Lying there, collapsed under trees bordering the mansion of the famous one I saw a butterfly broken by the slam of a single raindrop on its wings fold and flutter as it hit a pool of water still fighting for the lift that is its nature. I closed my eyes expecting to dissolve into stars or lava or a brutal sequoia when the famous writer appeared and leaned down over me. Lifting my head he put his lips on mine and breathed into my mouth one word and then another, and another, words upon words then numbers, then notes. I swallowed it all while my mind filled with language, measure, music, knowledge.
These gifts from the famous writer were so seductive, so all encompassing they seemed to make a heart irrelevant.
Two-Minute Personality Test
By Jonathan Safran Foer
What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look through your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make yo u any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness of ravens”?