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The Courage to Face Death

Yesterday I was finishing an edit on a nonfiction book proposal from my three months in Varanasi, India. (I was there doing research for my novel, Sister India.)

In the proposal is a scene from the first time I visited “the burning place,” the riverbank pyres where corpses are burned and ashes placed in the Ganges. Watching a human body catch fire is disturbing, even if it’s a stranger, and seen briefly and from a little distance.

Hours after that experience, I felt as if the ballast in my interior was rolling around. I felt all atilt. I’ve read that material a number of times since. But yesterday it got to me again, as if I were seeing it for the first time.

The fact that we die and are physically destroyed is shocking. I find it incomprehensible.

We are all very brave to put up with it.

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