How Best to Avoid Dying-Owen Egerton

“I had thought you were not in this story. None of the characters are based on you. But perhaps you are here. Perhaps the three (Zane, Stella, and David) are you. Zane is action; David is inaction; Stella orbits the two like a comet between stars. Is your genius your contradictions? Is your being the unlikely love affair and hate affair of anonymous elements? The pain and joy of your year has pushed out the edges of your soul. In some ways it can hold more than it ever held. But the seams are torn and your soul pours out on me and all those you see.”-note 11; p82

“The sky is high and far. The cliffs are old. In Utah everything stretches up, out, back, and I find me nowhere but now and alone. It’s a good lonely, still hurts, still hollow, but being lonely in a beautiful place is finer than being lonely on my brother’s couch. It’s kind of a scary lonely. I’m afraid it might get me. Especially when the sun goes down. If you get lonely enough God will meet you there. I’m afraid to try.”-p163

“Anywhere in the world, he’d be young.”-p165

“‘Where you fear there is judgement, where you hope there is nothing, in that place there is actually love.'”-p175

But where there is actually love, there would be no judgement; there will be nothing in a way exact you want it to be, a comfortable emptiness that allows you to be you.


I bought this book [the yellow cover editon] at Quimby’s, Wicker Park. That was the first independent bookstore J had taken me to.
I bought this book, and started reading in the apartment on Church St. That book, and the first several stores kept me accompany for something like two months, before I graduated, before all began.

Then it stayed in my bookshelf then my moving boxes then my bookshelf again for one and a half year. When I picked it up, I thought it would be something entertaining on my daily commute. But it turns out to be a wonderful book that I’ve long forgotten. The way Egerton plays with words and culture, the insightful and acerbic irony in his observation of our society are all like mouths bursting out cold laugh. Well you just start to notice how absurd life could be, in a unrealistic but reasonable way.

Of course quantum mechanics and neuroscience and other science tell laws of the factual world, but it is always literature, those stories fictions tales and legends carrying on the spirit, lashing the wrong and spread the right.

I gradually realize that it is always other people and other minds we turn to whenever we get lost. Our interests in the enormous universe or the microworld as tiny as a neuron or a photon are just ways to open up a new world, that we could hide and explore, assume and learn. But it is the words related to this world, directly dealing with our heart and soul, that reveals us the path of our individual life. That’s something we shouldn’t give up to, for we are human beings not only having distinguished reasoning skills, but also experience highly emotional and sentimental.

The best thing is, I am always amazed to see that science and literature could be entangled in such a harmonious way rather than conflict with each other.