I’m one of those drivers who listens to NPR most mornings after dropping off the girls in carpool or on my way to work. Yesterday, I tuned in in time to catch The Diane Rehm Show. Diane was interviewing novelist Heidi Julavits, who recently published a diary/collection of essays/reflections on life called The Folded Clock.
I found myself drawn into the conversation. Diane and Heidi discussed at length the two words that began each chapter, or diary entry: “Today, I.”
At first, I thought that starting every chapter with the same words must seem a bit redundant, and frankly, simplistic, to the reader. But as Heidi read excerpts from her work–one a piece on spinning tops with her son and the other on buying a vintage necklace and then struggling over whether to give it to her mother as a birthday present–I appreciated the honesty and genuineness of her voice.
As the two discussed how the book had been composed, Heidi talked about the ways in which those two words, “Today, I,” took her into far more than what had happened on the particular day she was recounting. Her actions, words, and emotions from the day drew her to other people and their experiences, memories, questions, dreams. What began as apparent introspection developed into an examination of the world around her.
I sat down at my computer this morning and began a new chapter in my memoir about Edwina and me. It began, “Today, I . . . “