Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the places people fall when they aren’t able to fall into love–because they’re not capable of love, because they already love someone else, because the person they have feelings for isn’t lovable, because they can’t let themselves love who they do. There should be a name for this place, where people who in another life could love each other instead set their demons loose to wage war. This dark universe is where a lot of the second Claire DeWitt book, which I’m writing now, takes place. It’s a place we’ve all visited, and some of us have taken up permanent residence–and if that’s you, I urge you to reconsider and remember there are better neighborhoods and yes, they will let you in. No one has to live there, although many seem to have forgotten where the door out is.
Maybe no short story captures this place better than Adam Haslett’s The Beginnings of Grief, from his collection You Are Not a Stranger Here. And you are not a stranger here; everyone knows this place, this netherworld of not-love. I’ve had hours of discussion about the story with my friend filmmaker Mark Levine. We’re fascinated by a lot of the same themes–how people love/hate each other, how nothing is ever simple, how life is rarely what it seems and almost never what people tell you it should be. Now Mark is making a feature film based on The Beginnings of Grief. He’s got a kickstart going on to help get production started, and I hope you’ll check it out and, if you’re able, give him a hand to get it off the ground. And for the true Sara Gran fans, there’s some cool bonuses from me for donors, too.