I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott
3 words: warm, wise, confessional
I love everything about this book. During our Newfoundland vacation, it was my go-to book when I wanted something smart, real, and deep yet light in tone. It was so worth carrying around the hardcover edition.
Mary Laura Philpott is a brilliant essay writer, and I don’t say that lightly. I’m holding her writing up against the work of Nora Ephron and Kelly Corrigan.
While her essays are highly personal — she writes about her (strong!) Type A tendency and the period when she thought she’d like to live apart from her family — they also address universal concerns. I found myself on these pages, and I’ll bet you’ll find yourself there, too.
There were sentences that just simply spoke to me, such as:
“When you internalize what you believe to be someone else’s opinion of you, it becomes your opinion of you.” (p. 30)
And then there were paragraphs with which I identified so closely, I nearly cried.
“I used to think that if only I could make everything perfect, then I could relax and have fun…
But by now, I’ve built up a crowd of selves who can set that little girl at ease. It’s okay, they tell her. Mistakes will happen–they have happened–and it’s not the end of the world. They get her to loosen up a little. They help her see that doing things wrong is part of doing life right. They show her that joy is bigger than fear. It can even be funny when things go haywire.” (pp. 270-271)
These realizations are hard-won, and when they’re expressed this clearly, it makes them even brighter and shinier and more valuable.
Philpott is not only a lovely writer, she’s also a deep thinker about these little things that make up our everyday lives.
And while it may seem there’s nothing particularly elevated about freaking out about making a mistake, she makes it OK that we’re all in this together, figuring out how to cope with the tiny and mighty challenges we face. It’s comforting to read the words of a fellow traveler on this path.
Give this book a whirl if you like… personal essays, Type A personalities exploring their own strengths and weaknesses, warmth and wisdom, family essays, women’s lives