Every Unhappy Family

When I was younger, I was endlessly fascinated by other people's lives, wanted to be them. I suppose I adapted by becoming a writer. Other people were happy, I figured, unlike us, and I wanted to know their secrets. I dissected "happy" cousins, other families, friends on my notebook pages. But, after awhile, I resorted to writing about what I knew: my own family, the scene of many accidents.

I know I am drawn to train wrecks. I like to salvage things. I know fixing things, people, is a tall order. But salvaging is gentle. Expectations are low. And sometimes rewards can be great. It's like sweeping a metal detector over a vast, arid beach. And getting crushed unexpectedly by tsunamis sometimes, unfortunately, instead of finding the elusive pocket watch. But when the excited prick of the detector vibrates, that metal heart begins fibrillating, I know it's been worthwhile. What we have buried, left behind tells so much more about us than what we carry.