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CJ Hauser on love, stories, and stories about love (Rebroadcast)

What stories are we told about love and what it should look like in order to lead a happy life? What happens when we learn these stories are false? What if they still have power? 

These questions are at the heart of CJ Hauser’s new essay collection, “The Crane Wife.” 

Their essay in The Paris Review by the same name went viral in 2019, amassing more than a million readers. In the piece, Hauser breaks off her engagement with her fiancé and studies whooping cranes for a novel she’s writing. 

“If you want to save a species, you don’t spend your time staring at the bird you want to save,” Hauser writes. “You look at the things it relies on to live instead … You ask if there is a safe place to sleep. Is there enough here to survive.” 

She realizes her own relationship revolved around her swallowing her needs, pretending they didn’t exist. 

We speak to Hauser about these lessons and the stories we inherit and choose to carry.

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Haili Blassingame