Of Being Woven

Always around my birthday I go looking for answers. The questions, more or less, sound like this: What should I do with the approximate 52.6 years I have left to live? Is it, like my former colleague with a degree from Oxford and British accent said, an act of intellectual cowardice to believe in God? Am I a teacher? Should I grow rhubarb and potatoes?

Two birthdays ago Aaron indulged a month long Rebellion Weekend wherein I

1) bought a pack of cigarettes from a nice woman at Walgreen’s who nearly didn’t sell them to me when I told her I hoped to smoke one before I turned thirty,

2) opened a Facebook account,

and 3) wrote a poem.

The cigarette was like throat-rape, Facebook is okay except I get jealous of people, and the poem was written by Sherry Who Is Clever rather than Sherry Who Is Sherry.  My idea–are poems ever ideas?–was to use obscure literary terms as inspiration. Here it is:


“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” from The Inferno

Or for those who in times of neutrality maintain great moral crises.


“Why should I?”
“Because you can.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I do.”

“Why do you?”
“Because I know.”
“How can I?”
“Because you should.”

Certain things are impossible because their possibility is uncertain.


On my last birthday, for the big 30, I received a telling collection of presents–the Best of Bob Dylan, Natural Pregnancy, and the seminal work by Dr. Alex Comfort whose title I need not disclose for risk of alienating the majority of my readership, our mothers and sister. When husbands and wives don’t have money for jewelry, things with wires, or things with motors, they buy each other $15 symbolic presents that represent the year gone by and the one to come. Sure enough, the following year there would be tambourine men, a pregnancy, and joy.

But, what is joy? Can we talk about that for a minute?

In order to move from Florida to Alaska, you must sell or give away all your books, including the annotated edition of Robert Browning and the Tolstoy. Then, when you get to Alaska you find a David Sedaris book at a thrift store and you swap it on swap.com for your only book of poetry, The Essential Rumi.

I like Rumi, even if he is in la-la land sometimes, because he is not afraid to answer hard questions. In that way, he is like a 13th Century Middle Eastern Bruce Springsteen.

Sherry: Rumi, what is joy?

Rumi: The way is full of genuine sacrifice.

Sherry: No, I’m sorry. You’ve misunderstood. How am I to be happy?

Rumi: You may be happy enough going along, but with others you’ll go farther, and faster.

Sherry: What if I don’t like to go far and fast? What if I like near and slow?

Rumi is quiet for awhile and starts picking his toenails. When he does this, his toenails click, which is an agitating sound.

Sherry: Okay, fine. Everyone wants to go far, even if it’s just with one other person.

Rumi: Yes. Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat. If they weren’t interlaced, the wind would blow them away. Like that, God paired up creatures, and gave them friendship.

For this birthday, I want to be woven. I want lives interlaced with my own so when the winds come, we will sway together.


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5 responses to “Of Being Woven

  1. Gramdma Leverett

    I love these moments of truth about my oldest daughter. Even though I have known her all her life, this gives your mother a chance to get to know the daughter she thought she knew.

  2. Sherry

    Aw, thanks, Mom! I was hoping to post some pictures of Clara, but the camera is acting up. I love you:)

  3. Summer Munyon

    What to say, Sherry, except I LOVED it! You’re the best writer I know by a thousand miles. (That was poetic, right?) I always love that you strive to stay “woven” with others even when you’re all to aware of the risks involved. And don’t worry, we all hate Facebook for the reason of feeling less than adequate. Hope that helps you feel adequate. I regularly hate the fact that we live so far away. Love you, Sherry!

    • Sherry

      Summer, you are such a good friend to me. Thanks for tracking down my blog and giving me some of that classic, genuine, nobody-does-it-like-Summer affirmation. I miss you so!

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