Heather Christle (2020) The Crying Book.

The Crying Book doesn’t really have a beginning or end. Heather Christle explains: ‘This book began five years ago with an idle idea about what it might look like to make a map of every place I’d ever cried…’ So it’s an ongoing conversation, like making a rug of your experiences, tagging it onto another strip. Crying with friends. Crying alone. Crying for god’s sake.

I suppose some people can weep softly and become more beautiful, but after a real cry, most people are hideous, as if they’ve grown a spare and diseased face beneath the one you’ve known, leaving very little room for the eyes. Or they look as if they’ve been beaten. We look. I look

After a trip to the emergency room and CT scan, a doctor announces it was not a stroke, only an ocular migraine. I remember different occasions, years ago, when my vision suddenly went askew, and I was for a short time unable to read words. I’d hold a book in front of me and see the black symbols, but could not decipher them. They looked to me just as they’d done before I learned how to read: orderly, attractive, incomprehensible. On that day I wept.

Men cry differently from women, it’s a cultural thing, but also the way we read ourselves. This is a book worth dipping in and out of. A refresher course in common humanity. Read on.

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