Dani Shapiro lives with endless questions. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, she believes she has escaped that “stifling” world. Yet she finds that every time she touches something that reminds her of that world, she has the urge to cry and then experiences a disarming sense of peace. Instead of seeking further in that direction, she runs from those feelings, perceiving them to be nothing more than the comforting memories of childhood. Thus, her search continues. Neither AA meetings nor yoga and meditation yield much tranquility. Finally, a series of losses and near losses lead Shapiro to realize that the journey is rewarding only if “…there is value in simply standing there — this too— whether the sun is shining, or the wind whipping all around.” Later she concludes that each of us is “full of longing, reaching out with our whole selves for something impossible to touch. Still, we are reaching, reaching.” While one may have wished for Shapiro to reveal a return to her roots, her depiction of her walk through shame, guilt, pain, darkness, and light is beautifully told.
Read Dani Shapiro’s Posts on the Visiting Scribe
Deborah Schoeneman, is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997.