One of things I thought about up in the Woods was the importance of ungratification. When I was much younger I can remember thinking that the point of a good meal was to stuff myself, to eat until I felt sick. Of course, back then, I didn't really identify it as "sick." I would have said "stuffed" or "full" or some such. But walking this path has given me some respect for absence, for longing. The last time I was in Chicago, I had a really great bread pudding. It tasted like a cloud with bananas. But I only ate half of it, and I've been thinking about it ever since. And I like the thinking about it, the absence of the thing, how it magnifies in my imagination. It was eating as a continued experience, like when you fall for someone--it isn't just being with them that's great. The longing, the absence is a part of the thing.
Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.