An amusing collection of commentaries about coming to terms with aging and change.
Logan (Designs in Patchwork, 1987) delivers an assortment of breezy observations of the ordinary that gradually reveal more difficult meaning-of-life questions. She begins her musings by literally studying her own navel. Her once perfectly formed “in-ey” that sat in the middle of a flat stomach, she says, is now an ugly “out-ey,” deformed by surgery and age: “it looks like a damn elephant trunk.” It is, as it turns out, just the last straw in a series of accumulating, irksome indignities, all of which lead her to the greater issue she’s facing: “What is my place at this age?” Logan is an articulate writer with a delightfully sharp wit that’s directed as often against herself as against society at large, and she writes as if engaged in conversation with a close friend. Each chapter begins with a memory or reflection that, at first, seems unrelated to the topic at hand: her childhood days at the swimming pool or her observation that her husband has had a mysterious, late-in-life growth spurt. Then her thoughts take deft turns, and the connections become obvious: her time in the sun led to two basal cell carcinomas, and she discovered that she’d become half an inch shorter than she was a year before. At times, she can be poignantly philosophical, as when she tries to remember the last time she made a call from a phone booth. Why is it, she asks, that we can remember all the firsts but not the lasts? It’s because we usually don’t know the lasts will be the lasts, she says; we don’t think them important enough to record them in our mental data banks. Her advice? Embrace the moment one is in. Logan’s work will resonate primarily with her contemporaries, as she captures a recognizable cultural past and offers inspiration for moving forward, but younger women who are willing to risk a peek into the future will also find it useful.
An upbeat guide for navigating an inevitable path.