How to Feel Awestruck (Courtesy of Allen Shawn)


You know the feeling you get when you read a passage, and you’re just so happy that the author is alive (or once was) and put into words something you’ve groped towards but never quite articulated?

I feel that way about this quote from Allen Shawn’s book, Wish I Could Be There:

“We are born in denial. Like the pre-Copernicans of the Middle Ages, who thought that the earth was the center of the universe, we start by believing we are the center, that everything we see is but an extension of us, there to support us. It takes years for it to dawn on us that our parents merely participated in a process that they didn’t understand any better than we do. They no more “made” us than they made themselves or the trees outside the window. They were made as we were made. Neither they nor we are the center. There is no center.” (p. 196)

(Shawn has another gorgeous quote that I’ve used as the epigraph to my forthcoming book.  You’ll see.)



  1. Luna on 07.02.2011 at 17:07 (Reply)

    Your comment about reading a passage has happened to me several times recently while reading ‘The Winter Vault’ by Ann Michaels. She describes emotions in such a way that it simply takes your breath away. It is as though those thoughts/emotions were just waiting for those words to be used to explain them. Her words sneak up on you and it takes you until the end of her finely crafted sentence to realize she has put words to a feeling you have always known.

  2. Susan on 07.02.2011 at 19:36 (Reply)

    You expressed this feeling so well. I am now heading over to Amazon to check out “The Winter Vault”! Thx much for the tip.

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