Jo Ann Beard - The Fourth State of Matter. PDF

PDF Unbelievably good. Flawless. A personal essay doing the work of a short story, and more, I think.

It seems like there will be a 50% chance, when you start reading this, that you already know what it is about. It's not hard to find out, but I think not knowing was… not better, but different. Halfway through, I realized that it was not so sad just because of the dog — I remembered what I'd read earlier on Wikipedia, really — and what I was in for. So I'm going to leave that unsaid and leave it up to you.

While there is of course absolutely nothing I can compare in my life, the way the story is told hit me in a soft place. I believe that the reason Beard needed to write this piece was not only because of what happened, but what was happening. The idea of "the last day of the first part of my life" is familiar to me — when you are watching your life live itself out, into a new one. Sometimes so many things will end at the same time, that time is marked forever, and this story is exactly as epic as that feels.

"She was never a puppy. She's always been older than me."

This was collected in Beard's book of essays The Boys of My Youth (which is basically at the very top of my to-buy list). But it was originally published in the New Yorker, and you can read it in full on the site.

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