The Real Question

January 5, 2012

I’ve just started reading the collected stories of Grace Paley. Here is the dedication on the opening pages:

It seems right to dedicate this collection to my friend Sybil Claiborne, my colleague in the Writing and Mother trade. I visited her fifth-floor apartment on Barrow Street one day in 1957. There before my very eyes were her two husbands disappointed by the eggs. After that we talked and talked for nearly forty years. Then she died. Three days before that, she said slowly, with the delicacy of an unsatisfied person with only a dozen words left, Grace, the real question is – how are we to live our lives?

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