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By Edward Sapir

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At the heart of this concept, this philosophy, in all its versions, is this message: a person is a person because of other people. The best of imagined stories always carry the ring of human truth and reality, while real-life stories convey the joy of love and achievement or tell painful truths of the agony of inhumanity. They touch the heart and stimulate the imagination, as the stories in this wonderful collection show. At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, I witnessed many remarkable people telling their own stories with dignity amidst their anguish and trauma.

Injured parties on every side. No question. You will go to the Pleasure Beach next. Isn’t a beach. Won’t be a pleasure. “Is it still the same? ” He wants you to talk, unburden. ” “Search the women sometimes. Yes. First aid. ” No reason to tell him. Known only unto God. What they say—isn’t it? About the buried, the mystery flesh, the too far gone. ” At the Pleasure Beach you will be not able to meet your already dead mother and your already dead Nan and your grown-younger father and they will not tour you about in another time, a farther than the moon and boxed underground time when there were miracles.

Fair enough, your boyfriend’s supposed to pay attention, but his payment feels like a trickle of something bad, feels like he’s pissing on you. It is offensive to be pissed on, a provocation in many cultures. He does, of course, want you to be happy here and to accept the blousy, big-grinning town in the proper spirit. He’d like you to join in—this is absolutely the capital of joining in and being of an age when fake plates of bacon and egg made from peppermint rock should prove hilarious, or tasty, maybe even miraculous.

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