I know, I know--everyone's telling you that, right? But this is a small book--only 97 pages altogether, and several of those are photographs. It's Ann Patchett's What now? She developed this from a recent commencement address given at Sarah Lawrence, her alma mater, and it's absolutely remarkable. I read it in one sitting, at a local funky coffee shop, dabbing at my tears with a piece of paper towel.
"I'd like to tell you to appreciate your youth, to stop and admire your own health and intelligence, but every writer has a cliche quota and I used up mine by saying, When I was sitting where you are now."
"There's a time in our lives when we all crave the answers. It seems terrifying not to know what's coming next. But there is another time, a better time, when we see our lives as a series of choices, and What now represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of life."
So, I've been asking the right question, but I think I need to adjust the inflection. Not "What now," as in, what thing is broken or what disappointment is next, but "What now" with wonder and awe and a bit of humor.