On my first big trip after college, I went to live in Japan for a while, and took two books with me: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which my girlfriend at the time gave me, and a collection of short stories by Ramond Carver, Where I'm Calling From, that a good friend gave me.
I was shocked, on the plane to discover the inscription / opening at the beginning in Carvers book:
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
And as this 22 year old kid, fresh out of the egg I was like, "Whoa! Synchronicity!"
Kundera's book is forever blended in my memory of sitting in this little park in Tokyo, reading before it was time to go to work, watching the whole city go by. And Carver - I had no appreciation for Carver when I was 22. Just too young.
And that quote stuck with me for a long time, and for a while I let it define me, until I came to understand that it's not true. 23 years later, I'm a long way from the scrawny kid I was in Japan, and I've lived many lifetimes along the way.
Thanks for the memories, Chris. The book of Laughter and Forgetting sounds like a good one, on a nice sandy beach and a (not too hot) summer day without a care in the world.
! T H A N K . Y O U !
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