"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."
«Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time. And I feel I have something very serious and urgent to say to you, my non-existent reader, and I feel I should say it as urgently as if I were standing in the room with you. That life—whatever else it is—is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch. For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time—so too has love. »
...his mother hadn't died in the explosion
...he hadn't put this bird into his bag
...he hadn't met Hobbie
...his father hadn't brought him to Las Vegas and hadn't died in the car accident (or was it a suicide?) later
...many many tiny and significant IFS...
But the biggest, the most important, the most fateful IF-
...IF HE HADN'T MET BORIS?