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  • This Book Will Change Your Life - Communion by the Curtis Smith.

    There is this moment when we're immersed in the essay "On Aggression" from the near surrealy meditative collection Communion by Curtis Smith when our 10-year old jumps from the couch on top of our head seeking battle. Not highly iunusual, but for the fact that "On Agression" is a piece focused on Smith's search to understand the potential violence within both he and his own son, a son who likes to grapple, and a son who knows agression if not the actual violence that Smith has experienced. The questios that hover around the piece is whether aggression is something we pass on through our DNA, something we model or some social construct fathers pass on to sons? Differently, similarly, is tangling with the things we all share as fathers, sons, writers - common experiences, and the desire to understand them, find the proper words, craft a narrative that somehow makes sense of our lives, individually, and collectively. We thought about all of this during our reading of "On Rereading" as well. The death of the father, books, the threads that run through our lives and across them. These are all of our stories and the challenge for the artist is to find the language that speaks to all of those who consume that art. That Smith accomplishes this throughout Communion would be a great feat of writing by itself, that he does so with the sense of calm and serenity the flows from sentence to sentence and page to page is something else entirely. These essays are like koans, full of triumph and enlightenment. They are also sure to change your life.