Fear

Nearly every morning, a certain woman in our community comes running out of her house with her face white and her overcoat flapping wildly. She cries out, “Emergency, emergency,” and one of us runs to her and holds her until her fears are calmed. We know she is making it up; nothing has really happened to her. But we understand, because there is hardly one of us who has not been moved at some time to do just what she has done, and every time, it has taken all our strength, and even the strength of our friends and families, too, to quiet us. 

“Fear” by Lydia Davis (in Almost No Memory 1997)

 

My favorite authors are the ones who articulate or even allegorize in so many words a feeling or sense I’ve had that has always simply lodged within me as a feeling or sense, an inarticulable gnawing — a knowing that is also a question. And then here it is. We read to feel less alone.

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