My younger self reminds me not to forget my shadow, not to leave it out of the story, for without a shadow what are we? Nothing of substance, for anything of substance casts a shadow. The world needs a recluse, the world wants a freakshow, some deep failure, fatal flaw. So they can see themselves through it, otherwise they cannot often look. And when they see character lost in its shadow, well, contempt may turn to stone and break, and inside the contempt may we find our humanity in another’s vulnerability. And find our compassion again. Toward others and toward ourselves! In a book, on the silver screen, in a play, in the news, at an opera, on the streets. We all are born into lives with our limits. We come abbreviated! Short-changed from the start. Getting alienated and thrown out of the womb, severed, the umbilical cord. What awaits us are further separations: from family, friends, community, self. From shadow. We need guidance to negotiate our way back into relationship! May books be always our guides. To the one who you know who knows you, too, I tell myself, may you steer your pen and the keys, to help and relate, not to please.