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in search of an ordinary life
I had an idea of myself as someone free and unencumbered, and virtuous for being so. Of course, one cannot live like this— I can’t, anyway. And in fact, I find that all the best things in my life have come about precisely through the things that hold me in place: family, work, routine, everything that contradicts my old idea of the good life. For years I lived mostly out of a backpack, traveling light and living cheap, often bestowing my mendicant presence on my brother, Geoffrey, and his wife, Priscilla, on my patient friends. But, you know, it seems as time goes on that the deepest good for me as man and writer is to be found in ordinary life. It’s the gravity of daily obligations and habit, the connections you have to your friends and your work, your family, your place— even the compromises that are required of you to get through this life. The compromises don’t diminish us, they humanize us.
— Tobias Wolff, The Art of Fiction No. 183

My life is pretty ordinary.

I have a good job and good friends and a good house in a good city. Sometimes I find myself wishing and hoping for something beyond the good, beyond the ordinary. My friend Mallory shared this quote in her weekly newsletter Garden Variety a few weeks ago and I have been ruminating on it ever since. 

The deepest good for me is to be found in an ordinary life. Trying to remember and cling to this truth today. 

morgan cogswell