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Samples from TRUTH AND BEAUTY

"What Do You Think Your Soul Is Shaped Like?"
homework question inspired by the poem "She Considers the Dimensions of Her Soul" by Young Smith

Isaiah's is a pyramid. His life path starts out narrow, works
towards the point at the top. Yvonne's is a star. It's bright and
unique and every time her life changes it develops a corner.
But the corners are not like a square. Nancy's is also a star but
not always a good star. Her star pokes and prods and its points
are sharp and hungry. And Kava thinks about auras and colors
rather than shapes. And Ben, his hobby is hunting, his soul is
shaped like a shotgun. Forgive his politics, he's not 21 yet and
he loves his girlfriend and baby godson, guns to him represent
empowerment and protection.
At first Carol thought her soul might be some complicated
interesting shape like a pentagon or crescent moon or
snowflake or fractal, but then she decided her soul wasn't
jagged or piercing. Hers is a bioluminescent amorphous thing
that lives in a semiotic relationship with her physical being, it
would never injure her or make her sad.
But Lenny's might. Though it's a liquid, it's an opinionated
liquid intruding in his life. Just by observing him you can see
that soul, beware of it.
9

"The Night I Almost Didn't Grow Up"
a math memoir by the teacher

The hardest thing for Uma about the first week of college:
they had them doing things right away, orientation the second
day, she wanted to just finish unpacking and be there, in her
new room.
Like me after I had my first, I wanted to just lie there and
think about how wonderful the birth was, how beautiful the
baby was, how great I was, I wanted to live the examined life
but not the life part just yet, only the examining. But the very
next morning, meaning three hours later, "Okay, Mother,
here's your baby." "Want to hold your baby?" "Ready to start
nursing your baby?"
Hm, the baby. Oh yes, the baby. And remember that poem we
read a few weeks ago about dying and your life passing before
your eyes? Well, can't your life pass before your eyes before
you die? In order to just lie there and bask in our lives, do we
have to permanently die?

"Can Absolute Powers Control Absolute Truth?"
question about the story "The Devil and Simon Flagg"
by Arthur Porges

Only the very religious students said yes, absolutely, God or
Jesus can do anything, in fact God or Jesus decides what the
absolute truths are. But most students said no, and Nick said if
he asked God to make 2 + 2 equal 5 and God said yes, he'd be
watching, waiting, tapping his fingers, listening for the
change. First he'd give it a minute. Then he'd give it five
minutes. Then maybe ten. Finally he'd say to God, "Well?"
And God would have to answer, "I didn't say when."
And Elena across the room called out to Nick, "I know what
you mean."