3Crucibles

When heated directly by fire, the fire of trial, the heat of disease,

Infernos of grief and penury…

Can we hold under the terror, the torment of transforming, under forging,

Until we are bearers of light, torches, for sufferance, for illumining oblivion?

—Susan Deborah King, from “Crucible,” in One-Breasted Woman

Chapter 1 introduced the central notion that “we are largely the stories we tell about ourselves.” In Chapter 2, we asked you to practice some “projective hindsight” to imagine how you might lose your way in hopes that, in fact, you wouldn't “lose it,” but rather “find it” and increase the chances that you'll stay on course. Here, we ask you to return to your life story, this time scanning it for particularly salient experiences ...

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