Mighty Life List
Dec 20 2011

It Chooses You by Miranda July


(Image from For Me, For You)

The best parts of It Chooses You by Miranda July:

I kept the house because the rent is cheap and I write there; it’s become my office. And the great northern beans, the cinnamon, and the rice keep the light on for me, should anything go horribly wrong, or should I come to my senses and reclaim my position as the most alone person who ever existed.

It was an act of devotion. A little like writing or loving someone — it doesn’t always feel worthwhile, but not giving up somehow creates unexpected meaning over time.

…I wasn’t in a fairytale or a fable. I shut my eyes and absorbed the silent whoomp that always accompanies this revelation. It’s the sound of the real world, gigantic and impossible, replacing the smaller version of reality that I wear like a bonnet, clutched tightly under my chin.

I had shortened my life in another way too, by marrying a man who was eight years older than me, meaning he would die exactly eight years before me, rendering the last eight years of my life useless. I would just spend it crying.

Ron was exactly the kind of man you spend your whole life being careful not to end up in the apartment of. And since I was raised to go out of my way to make such men feel understood, I took extra-special care with his inteview. But as he talked on and on (the original transcript was more than fifty pages), I realized that I don’t actually want to understand this kind of man — I just want them to feel understood, because I fear what will happen if I am thought of as yet another person who doesn’t believe them. I want to be the one they spare on the day of reckoning.

In my lexicon of signs and symbols, obsessively organized pictures of Prisons, Babies, and Nice Girls are an indication that something of great consequence is afoot.

All I ever really want to know is how other people are making it through life — where do they put their body, hour by hour, and how do they cope inside of it.

9 Responses to “It Chooses You by Miranda July”

  • LT Says:

    Would it be worthwhile to read this on Kindle or are the images crucial to see big and in color? Thanks. :)

  • Maggie Mason Says:

    I think kindle would be fine.

  • Maggie Mason Says:

    Wait. The images are in color, and are lovely admittedly.

  • denise Says:

    the last line kills me. somebody just described what i do all day, every day.

  • Amber, theAmberShow Says:

    This made me dizzy. I’m buying it today. (Owning a kindle has made me dangerous.)

    Thank you.

  • ellen Says:

    Powerful and true.

  • Amanda Says:

    Oh, man! This: “All I ever really want to know is how other people are making it through life — where do they put their body, hour by hour, and how do they cope inside of it.” Yes, yes, yes!

  • Ashley Says:

    I love the passage about Ron. I used to go to a dive bar in my neighborhood and sit for hours with an old man who once had a mail-order Russian bride. I would listen to him tell stories forever, then one day I invited him over for dinner. It was the most uncomfortable evening of my life and I realized that he was better left at the bar, where I could support him.

  • Rachelle Says:

    Miranda July has such a way with finding the right words. The rest of us need Germanic traincar constructions (to borrow from Eugenides) that haven’t been invented yet to articulate interiority. Ms. July? Not so much. Her and Jeanette Winterson are the only two living authors I can think of who are that particular brand of poetically adept. If you haven’t read Winterson yet, by the way, you should – you will flip. I find myself saying “YES TO THAT” in my head (and sometimes aloud) on every single page. She is the master of elegant complication with a heartfelt linguistic clarity that speaks to the philosophical just as much as the everyday. I love that.

    But, I digress! I recently shared a quote of Miranda July’s as a part of my new project (see website link), and was delighted to stumble across her thoughts again here on your site. It makes me smile to see others savoring her words as much as I do.