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Listening Against the Stone

Listening Against the Stone

Selected Essays

Also available as an eBook in the Amazon Kindle Store or in the Google eBookstore.

Listening Against the Stone brings together selections spanning the breadth of the work of Brenda Miller, including six essays that have won the Pushcart Prize.

By author: Brenda Miller

Price: $14.00

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Listening Against the Stone brings together selections spanning the breadth of the work of Brenda Miller, including six essays that have won the Pushcart Prize. These deeply personal essays paint a picture of how her sense of spirituality has evolved and shifted through the years: always rooted in a strong desire for connection. Together, they tell the story of a single woman making her way, stumbling but always seeking out touchstones-a dog, a friend, a painting, a tree-to help her gain her true bearings.

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Preface

Blessings

Incantations

Basha Leah

Next Year in Jerusalem

A Different Person

I Need a Miracle

Blessing of the Animals

A Thousand Buddhas

A Dharma Name

Music of the Spheres

How to Meditate

A Thousand Buddhas

Twelve Ways of Looking at Patience

Infant Ward

Raging Waters

Dirty Windows

The Burden of Bearing Fruit

At the Edge of the World

Hungers

Our Daily Toast

Enticement

The 23rd Adagio

Secret Machine

Opalescent

The Dog at the Edge of the World

Bodyguard

I've always believed in signs, and will do almost anything to predict the future. Often the first to pry open my fortune amid the remains of a Chinese dinner, I inhale the smell of the cookie itself as prophecy: that honeyed shellac, the faintest bitter whiff of lemon. I like best those moments just before my future will be revealed, the cookie still whole in my hands, my fate untouched within its folds. When the time comes, I read the fortune aloud with scorn, I laugh with my dinner companions, I add the words "in bed" to every line because that's what's done these days. But secretly I believe anything the fortunes say; I stash these ribbons away in my purse where I'll come across them weeks, months, years later and won't be able to remember if what they said came true.

This predilection for the mystic has been with me ever since I was a child. The best present I ever received as a girl was the Magic 8-ball: every day I asked it a question, my hands sweaty on the black orb, then I turned it over so the answer floated up with sharp clarity from the murk: It depends, No, All signs point to yes. I found such limited and simple answers liberating rather than confining; I suppose I felt comforted by the possibilities whittled down to a certain few, the future determined in the simplest words possible. Even if the answer disappointed I resisted asking the question again, wary of contradiction. Once answered, forever answered: that's what I believed.

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