Is there one moment that has come to define your life—a moment that changed your perspective, or your direction, or when you made a choice that has ever after changed who you are? I believe that all of us could come up with at least one example, if not more. I could write about the moment I brought my firstborn son home to read headlines that spoke of the fall of Srebrenica and I thought, I have brought a male child into a world that does this to men. Or I could write about the moment the ultrasound showed two tiny blinking stars and the technician said, “Oh good, there’s still two little heartbeats,” and I said, “What do you mean two?” (She thought I knew it was twins and was worried I’d miscarried one of them, but I didn’t even know for sure I was pregnant.) Or I could write about the moment I and my husband decided to take our son and our toddler twins to live in Mauritania, in the Sahara desert, or when I knew I needed to fly home to say goodbye to my dying mother. In short, my life has had many defining moments, some my own choice and some not.
The Moment is a book comprised of short essays by a variety of people talking about a defining moment in their own lives. Submissions range from the hilarious and joyful to the disheartening to the stark and sobering, but without fail they are all fascinating, and you will see yourself reflected in these stories from others lives. There’s the girl who flew over her handlebars, later watching her mother pace the room while she gets stitches and realizing what motherhood means—that overwhelming love and concern. There’s the war journalist living with the guilt that he was unable to ferry a wounded man to safety, that being a reporter had overridden his ability to be human. There’s the dead mouse in the bottom of the trash can that prevented a woman from being there to get a call from her doctor. There’s the moment that a phone call came from another doctor, giving a diagnosis of cancer. There’s the first recognition of racism; that others are defining you by your skin colour or ethnic heritage. There’s the child on a family vacation, staring out the window, watching for an escaped prisoner on the lam that was just reported by a police stop and seeing something out there that he tells to no-one. There’s birth and death, growth and change, choices taken and deferred, but all these moments are life-changing and life-defining.
The writers are a mix; some are famous and some are not, and a few essays are in the form of a comic or a poem. Some make you smile, or even laugh; others are poignant, heart-breaking. All are real and honest, which gives them great appeal. They’re short—it’s easy to kick through 5 or 10 anytime you’ve got a minute or two to spare—but they’re well-written and thought-provoking. They’re even inspirational, although I feel that word’s been so overused I’m reluctant to use it.
In short, I really enjoyed The Moment. These brief but profound reads take you deep into someone else’s life, where you may recognize something of yourself as well. I highly recommend it. It would also make a great gift for pretty much anyone.
Elizabeth thinks that life has many defining moments, and she loves to hear about those in other people’s lives. Tell her about a defining moment in your own life at her blog Planet Nomad.
This sounds really cool! I’m a fan of Six Word Memoirs, which I see is on the cover image of The Moment, so I’m guessing they’re affiliated. I’ll have to look into it.
That sounds lovely. Just lovely.