December 29, 2014

Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography
Richard Rodriguez

Journeys“After September 11, it became easier, apparently it became necessary, for many of my friends to volunteer, without any equivocation of agnosticism, that they are atheists. It was not clear to me whether they had been atheists all along or if the violence of September 11 tipped Pascal’s scales for them.” Seattle. A pleasant Thursday evening in late March. The roomy downstairs space at Elliott Bay Book Company, which is a cathedral of American bookstores.  Richard Rodriguez – essayist, journalist, PBS NewsHour contributor – stands on a brightly lit platform, conversing with a crowd of readers seated in folding chairs before him. He speaks casually and respectfully and with great humor about the people and the stories featured in his newest book. In his remarks, Rodriguez offers more questions than answers. He shares multiple reflections rather than glib quips. For me, seated in the audience, the experience was profound – and rare: Here was a thoughtful author with something meaningful to say. Afterward, I purchased three copies of this book, one to read and two to give as gifts. In this collection of interwoven essays, Rodriguez travels from Jerusalem to Las Vegas, from L.A. to London. He delves into the “desert religions” – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – and, without preaching, explores the role of spirituality in our lives and in our deaths. Some stories brought me to tears. Others made me laugh. Most filled me with a silent wonder, as if I was standing in the middle of a nighttime desert myself, reaching on tiptoes with outstretched hands toward a darkened sky filled with ten thousand brightly lit stars, asking, Why? Why is there something and not just nothing? Why is there anything at all?


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