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I can’t resist sharing this photograph of William Saroyan that my brother in Armenia passed along yesterday. It was taken in 1978 at someone’s home in Echmiadzin, not far from Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. Willie, as I mentioned in this post that features a picture of him with my father taken outside my childhood home, was my grandmother’s first cousin. A picture like this, coming out of nowhere, so to speak, is a great treasure. Everything about his face speaks of family on my father’s mother’s side — the lines and valleys and shadows and nose, the great gray mustache, the certainty, the melancholy, the anger. Seeing this, I am for a moment whole again, even though I have not been broken, even though I am an accumulation, a composite force, a blending of the wide and straight and narrow, of the solid and precipitous, of the fallen, defeated, and arrogant, of exhilaration and pain, of good and bad, and am to my own glory and detriment in love with the sorrow of myself, the sorrow that is my self, a self itself subject to reason, joy, and whim. Meanwhile, of course, it’s just a picture. You might not see it or feel it at all — as it should be. For you have your own fire to tend, your own story to tell.
As the Conversation continues, we cut to the camel chase.