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Save Send Delete

Save Send Delete

by Danusha V. Goska


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Save Send Delete is a debate about God between polar opposites: Mira, a poor, Catholic professor and Rand, an atheist author and celebrity. It’s based on a true story. Mira reveals gut-level emotions and her inner struggles to live fully and honestly – and to laugh – in the face of extraordinary ordeals. She shares experiences so profound, so holy, they force us to confront our beliefs in what is true and possible. Rand hears her; he understands her; he challenges her ideas; he makes her more of herself. The book is in essence a love story. What emerges from these eternal questions is not so much about God, but what faith means to us, and ultimately, what we mean to each other. The writing is exquisite. There are pages of this manuscript that I want to highlight and keep close to me on my nightstand. It is filled with wisdom from sources I don’t normally draw on: The wisdom of the Bible, the Talmud, the Vedas, Twelve Step programs, and mostly, the wisdom of Mira.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781846949869
Publisher: Roundfire Books
Publication date: 04/16/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 299
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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Save Send Delete

By Danusha V. Goska


Copyright © 2011 Danusha V. Goska
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-84694-986-9

Chapter One

Two days after Winter Solstice

Saturday, Midnight

Dear Lord Randolph Court-Wright, Marquis of Alnwick,

Don't you feel embarrassed going through life with such a ridiculous name? Look, I'm an American, and I'm damn proud of it. We fought a revolution to oust gits like you, and here we are importing your ilk to tell us that there is no God. Me? No title; I am not "Mira of Paterson." I am a Bohunk with a keyboard and a modem.

I just saw you on TV – public TV, no less. My tax dollars paid for that cushy leather chair you languished in. I kept waiting for Bill Moyers to provide us with your resume. What qualified you to tell millions of viewers that there is no God, and that there are, furthermore, no soul, no afterlife, no ESP, no meaning, no elves, no magic, no Tinker Bell – how else did you put it – nothing but "leaden matter"? (Why "leaden"? Why not "gold"?)

Your bona fides consist in this: you are tall, you are blond, you have an aquiline nose, you've climbed Mount Everest, and you made some discovery about the first few seconds after the Big Bang. Also, you speak in that insufferable accent typical of an upper class English git. I've never used the word "git," but I've heard it in British movies, and I want to insult you in terms native to your lingo.

"He lives with his head in the primordial nebula," Moyers said. "His body is amongst us, but his mind resides in a few nanoseconds around the Big Bang." Gag me.

Moyers had other talking heads on, of course; the guest-list was sanctioned by the Bureau of Political Correctness. There were two women, both slender and attractive. One an actress; one a poetess, one of those beautiful, older Irish women whose beauty I just want to steal; we Slavs do not age well. Their thick hair goes gray and stays thick and they all look like sages, no matter how much folderol they mutter about mists, salmon and St. Patrick, the Potato Famine, the Little People; Celtic harp music rose in the background and I'm sure the PBS fundraisers' telephones rang off the hook. There was a black liberation theologian in dreads and kente cloth. One Asian, whose entire identity seemed to be that he was the one Asian. One Captain of Industry. Diverse? There were no poor people. No ugly people. No diseased people. Why do you people get to tell the rest of us whether or not there is a God? How about six million dead Jews? Isn't the Holocaust the signature event that types that question IN ALL CAPS?

I became excited when Moyers identified you as a skeptic who questions everything. I actually put down my fork and stopped chewing my pasta fazool. I question everything, and I find that that makes me very lonely. If you want to talk about Islam and terror, for example, you know that the Politically Correct will resist anything that implicates Islam. On the other hand, self-identified "Patriots" won't allow any critical statements about US petro-dependency. Abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage: people bring so many agendas to these matters that real, probing questions are never asked or answered. But you were as dogmatic in your atheism as a Monty Python parody of a pope.

Lord Randolph, just between you and me, does it matter to you at all that you lie? You lie like a Soviet propaganda minister. You create a false dichotomy: either one is a thinker, or one is a believer. Either one is a flea-bitten person of faith, scuttling about some hovel, chaining human beings to superstition and fear – you glanced at the Irish poetess the moment you said this – cruel and unfair of you – or one is a whistle-clean scientist, gleaming in the new light of truth. One is Prometheus, liberating humanity. Does it matter to you at all that these words of yours are complete, unadulterated bullshit?

Lord Randolph Court-Wright, I know that you know that Isaac Newton, frequently dubbed the greatest scientist and mathematician of all time, though he wrote reams of math and science, wrote even more about his own Christian faith. I know that you know that Copernicus and Galileo were devout Catholics. You know, also, that Louis Pasteur died with his rosary in his hands. You know that Max Planck was a church warden. You know of contemporary physicists who seek only equations and then cough up poetic admissions of ineluctable confrontations with God. You know that Einstein adamantly refused to be counted in the atheist census, though he was aggressively invited, and that he emphatically insisted on his own understanding of God as driving his science: I want to know the mind of God, Einstein said; "the rest are details." Johannes Kepler, Renee Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Gregor Mendel: Remove these Christian names and you've pretty much erased the scientific canon. I know that you know all of this. I know that you know that you are lying. What kind of a mind, what kind of a soul, lies behind lies like yours?

When I was a kid, my mother schlepped me to her home village in Slovakia. A few handmade houses plunked down between a river, fields of rye, and mountains you could hike to, hunt boar in; with another hour's climb, you entered medieval ruins; from those heights the village looked as it must have when the castle was first erected.

Mom and I arrived a few years after the Soviet tanks. The liberators who would free humanity from religious chains.

There was a priest in the village. He had been tortured. They just showed up one day and took him. He was gone for some months. They sent him back. He was broken. His body looked fine. His mind was gone. He could eat and dress and walk, but that was it. He was guided around town by the hand of a little girl. There was no question but that the villagers would tend for him. Nobody talked about it. He moved like Frankenstein. My blood ran cold.

There are these people, these people who rise up every so many years or so, and they speak really well, and they get others to listen. They get others to listen because they are smooth but loud and full of themselves and convinced that others must listen. These people have an intuition of the mob's simmering resentments, and they glom on to those incoherent grumblings, and preach them back in grandiloquent prose. And their message is always the same: "There are two kinds of people in this world. Only two. There's us, and there's them over there. And them over there, those people who are different from us, they, they are the cause of all of our woes." These slick speakers don't use their fists. No, they never hurt anyone. They pave the way for all hellish mayhem.

Is that what you are all about?

But you know what I was thinking the whole time I was watching you on TV? That this guy, in high school, got way more wedgies than blow-jobs. And that's why you don't believe in God. At least you don't believe in a God that is beyond you. Because you do believe in God, really, you believe in Lord Randolph Court-Wright, Marquis of Alnwick. You believe in your physics discoveries and your mountain climbing and your posh, Jane-Austen-movie accent. You believe in all of that so hard because when you were a fourteen-year-old science geek, before your legs bolted and your voice cracked, you were a little boy nerd and nobody liked you. The tough kids in school – there had to have been some tough kids, even just relatively tough, even in an English boarding school – the tough kids in school stole your self away from you, so you make your living stealing God away from us. And then you sit back in your squeaky leather chair and steeple your hands and look down your Viking-prow nose and observe us plebian wretches squirming, because you've just given yourself the satisfaction of snatching away the one thing that makes our miserable serf-like existences bearable.

You are so wrong I want to scream. I want to wrest from Moyers' plump and clammy hands my every tax dollar used to produce that program. I wish I could have been there questioning you. I DEMAND EQUAL TIME!!!

But, to be honest – I don't think I'm writing this e-mail just because you pissed me off. What is it about you? Is this déjà vu? I need to brush up on my metaphysical terminology. From the French, "already seen," the spooky sensation that one has lived a new moment before, met an entirely new acquaintance in some misty past ... but one cannot quite remember where or when.

Is this synchronicity? I love the story from Carl Jung. He was treating a woman who was "psychologically inaccessible."

The difficulty lay in the fact that she always knew better about everything. Her excellent education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly polished Cartesian rationalism with an impeccably "geometrical" idea of reality. After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself. Well, I was sitting opposite her one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab – a costly piece of jewelry. While she was still telling me the dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the window pane from the outside in an obvious effort to get into the dark room.

The insistent insect visitor was, of course, a scarab beetle. Jung's patient had resisted the idea that there is anything in the universe except her own intellectual excellence. She was talking to Jung about a dream starring a scarab beetle, and, at that moment, a scarab beetle burst in on her therapy: synchronicity.

Is that what you made me feel? Is that why I'm writing to you?

It's late. I should go to bed.

Just a few hours ago, I was in the kitchen, whipping up my Saturday night pasta fazool. The TV was on in the next room. It's a ten-inch, thirty-year-old, black-and-white, and it brings in snowy images via its bent antennae. I live in a loft; there's no wall between the kitchen and the TV; right now my keystrokes echo off a shadowy, twenty-five-foot high ceiling. I heard the PBS station ID, and some maudlin Is-There-a-God type mood music, and Moyers introducing his guests, and the camera panned around the circle, and I saw *you,* and ... what? Happened? One steps out of time. Memories of those moments are inaccessible. They aren't day-to-day life. Returning to day-to-day life, you can't access the memory, because no day-to-day person, including the person to whom it happens, speaks the language of those time-out-of-time moments. Metaphysical terminology fails.

My Lord, you don't believe in moments like this, and I don't have words to name them. Communication is impossible.

But I'll tell you this, Mr. Atheist, Milord The-Sun-Never-Seton- His-Nose. I try to watch the physics shows on PBS but I can follow them only so far. I love how they try to explain things in simple, everyday language. They'll start out saying something like, "Now, imagine the universe as a bowl of cake batter, and gravity as a stick of butter." I can relate. Cake batter – one of my favorite things. Okay, I'm with you. I'm wrapping my head around this idiot-friendly metaphor, and then the TV physics guy says, "And, that is why no one can predict whether Schrodinger's Cat is alive or dead," and I'm like, "Wait a second ... Can we please go back to the cake batter and work up to Schrodinger's Cat in slightly smaller increments?" So, no, I don't know nuthin' about physics, but I know it's all just hardware, and I know that there is a God, and I know that in high school, Lord Git-Toff Marquis of Wanker-Bugger, you got more wedgies than blowjobs.

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Sunday, 7:02 a.m.

Dear Lord Randolph Court-Wright, Marquis of Alnwick,

Wow. I mean, wow.

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Sunday, 7:11 a.m.

Dear Lord Randolph Court-Wright, Marquis of Alnwick,

Look, I didn't think that there was a snowball's chance that anyone would read that. I was just trying to get a bunch of stuff off my chest. God, this sounds so stupid. If I didn't believe what I was writing, why did I spend two hours on a Saturday night writing it? Great, I'm thinking out loud again, writing to myself. Not attempting to communicate with you at all. But – you – seven thousand miles away? How far *is* London from New Jersey, anyway? I'm going to look that up. 3,498 miles. 5,629 kilometers. Do you use kilometers, not miles, in England? You? Who the hell are you? Why did you write back to me? Is this a joke?

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Sunday, 7:20 a.m.

Dear Amanda,

Amanda, look, if you're not online, get online. Answer this email. Amanda, the weirdest thing happened. Amanda, last night I was cooking pasta fazool and I had the TV on and this guy came on – Randolph Court-Wright – and started spouting off about how there is no God, and he's a Lord, and some important scientist, and he pissed me off, and I sent him a rude e-mail, and he wrote back, and now I'm mortified. And I cannot believe how quick, how intimate, and how small the world has become.

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mira ... darling ... what would buddha do ... online late ... almost dawn here in Berkeley ... just got back from the cast party in the city of the tarnished angels ... never guess who was there ... brad pitt can be such an cretin ... must sign off ... butterfly kisses ... yours always ... amandla

Sunday, 7:59 a.m.

Dear Lord Randolph Court-Wright, Marquis of Alnwick,

Sir, it has been more than an hour since I read your e-mail. I haven't even taken my morning shower. Having typed that I feel I should delete it; do you need to know that I am so aghast at my own behavior that it is affecting how I smell? But I promised myself that to get through this I will force myself just to keep typing and not keep chickening out and keep going back and deleting.

Please let me say the following three things as inelegantly and inadequately as possible.

I did not write that e-mail with the thought that anyone, at any time, would read it. You are world famous. Perhaps I would send it to my friend Amanda. She reads a lot of my writing, when she's not mad at me. She's an actress, in California. You may have seen her in "Female Werewolves from the Moons of Jupiter." That is not her best work; she does stuff like that to pay the bills. Her heart is in the woman-centered theater of Ibsen, Strindberg. I'm rambling. Stop.

I thought that e-mail would be like a message in a bottle tossed into the moat stretching infinitely and storming forever between your universe and mine. I live in Paterson, New Jersey, a slum. You inhabit – I imagine golden wallpaper and pearl toilet fixtures and liveried servants dishing quails' eggs for breakfast. I didn't think that "to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" applied between the physics of my world and that of yours.

I felt no sense of triumph when I learned from your e-mail that my assumption of what typified your schooldays was accurate. I hope that the bullies were punished. There is no excuse for that sort of thing. And yet, you report your memories of school, not just with the obvious poignancy, but also with a dry and subtle humor that attests to your strength. I admire you. You triumphed over your bratty tormentors.

Your note to me was one of the most gracious documents I have ever read. Were it not so inappropriate I would compliment you on your imitation of Christ.

I apologize again. You have impressed me greatly. All the best.

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mira ma belle ... can't sleep ... bastard brad pitt ... you ... another broken heart ... that's going to keep happening ... i'm afraid ... until you take my advice pumpkin ... why don't you finally break down and follow "the secret" the rhonda byrne book ... or come for a workshop ... they could get you some kind of a scholarship so it would not be so pricey ...

Sunday, 10:01 a.m.

Dear Lord Randolph Court-Wright, Marquis of Alnwick, You are incredibly kind and gracious. I do appreciate your taking the time to say all these things. And you gave me a smile. It's a good thing you have a sense of humor – must come in handy in your work.

Me? I'm basically nobody. Thank you for asking, though. Again, you are very kind, sir, very kind.

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Excerpted from Save Send Delete by Danusha V. Goska Copyright © 2011 by Danusha V. Goska . Excerpted by permission of ROUNDFIRE BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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