I cannot recommend Stoner by John Williams enough; not a single word is wasted in creating a life and exploring the passions, loves and failures of an individual throughout that life. These are the moments that history does not record:
Five days before the marriage took place the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbour; and William Stoner watched the ceremony with a mixture of feeling that he had not had before. Like many others who went through that time, he was gripped by what he could think of only as a numbness, though he knew it was a feeling compounded of emotions so deep and intense that they could not be acknowledged because they could not be lived with. It was the force of a public tragedy he felt, a horror and a woe so all-pervasive that private tragedies and personal misfortunes were removed to another state of being, yet were intensified by the very vastness in which they took place, as the poignancy of a lone grave might be intensified by a great desert surrounding it. With a pity that was almost impersonal he watched the sad little ritual of the marriage and was oddly moved by the passive, indifferent beauty of his daughter’s face and by the sullen desperation on the face of the young man.
– From the novel Stoner by John Williams. Published by Vintage, 2012.
And you are turning to stone and I’m left all alone, I let out a soft moan.
Let this not be real and please just let it be a dream, I can hear myself scream.
This is not about me though, this is about everyone you ever loved and everyone who ever loved you. I still cannot take it in, my heart is broken in two at the loss of my wonderful friend. I’ve turned to old friends and to music to draw me closer to our shared memories of the years we knew each other. I wanted to share the fact that I’d discovered a musician who I never knew but you said I should. Now it’s the soundtrack to my grief, the one real release, where my eyes fill with tears and I’m stuck dumb once again; that I’ll never share a laugh over a drink again with your growing smile as my companion, that I’ll never get to the chance to watch your career blossom fully as it had already started to, that I’ll never get to hug you goodbye again.
I’m not convinced, but I hope it’s not the end. Memories are never goodbye.