PAMELA RYDER Paradise Field

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Let’s not futz around.  I’m old, a Jew, a man who, but for the fates in charge of the trivialities, might have been Ryder’s father.  Well, for all that, I am Ryder’s father or, anyhow, a father of Ryder and will, accordingly, go agreeably to my grave praising her name as if my doing so might work for my daughter the favor of the gods.  Let me tell you—in the matter of my thinking what must be said when an occasion such as this has come to take me by the heart:  it was with tears in my eyes that I made my way through the pages recording Ryder’s mission to bury her dead in a manner unique among the methods practiced by humankind.  Her art is water for the thirsty, sustenance for the deprived.  I ask you, which of us is not perishing from the logic of the insufficiency woven into the world’s conceivable answer to our unappeasable cries?  Ryder, her soul, her sentences, they are one thing, and this totality is given as an exception—the valedictory gesture of a mensch, this Pamela Ryder, enacting her livelong promise via the ceremonies of Paradise Field.  Listen to me—my daughter brings comfort, brings balm, brings the exhilaration of loving and kinship to al those who would, by words, be cured.
–Gordon Lish–
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