Let this essay, then, serve as a sort of introduction to those excerpts.
And I think it is this willingness to forget the bad things that have taken place in the past, this willingness to start every day as though it were possible to somehow reconstruct a goodness, is what keeps me going. I have had this confidence in that action in me since I was a small child; in fact, I can't remember any time in which I didn't have it. My mother reminds me that when I was a very small child, and she said something couldn't be done, or would be very difficult, I would always reply: we can try.
I suppose that this belief in an essential goodness and an ability to start over and find a way to it is naïve. At least some might say it is; and they are probably right, because we are all, it is apparent, creatures who have lost their way.
Nonetheless, I cannot live in the hopelessness that presents itself and wages war against my inner effort; it is my duty and responsibility to stand up over and over again in the face of the bad things that happen and the hopelessness that wants me to believe in it, and say no. It may well be that people are always going to behave badly and be cruel, and it may well be that I will always have some part of me that wants to respond in kind; but I have to do better—
because I do not want to die feeling that have failed to try.