"No man, proclaimed Donne, is an island, and he was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other's tragedies. We are insulated (a word that means, literally, remember, made into an island) from the tragedy of others, by our island nature, and by the repetitive shape and form of the stories. The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived, and then by some means or another, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes forming patterns we have seen before, as like one another as peas in a pod (and have you ever looked at peas in a pod? I mean really looked at them? There's not a chance you'd mistake one for another, after a minute's close inspection), but still unique."