What’s the most romantic thing anyone’s ever done for YOU?
Indeed, it’s a difficult question; people court/love in so many different ways.
Years ago, the sweeping gestures seemed uber-romantic. A man once set up a dinner for me - (table and tiki torches and wine) on a sand bar in the Gulf of Mexico. That night, he told me he would treat me like it was my birthday every day for the rest of my life.
Untrue, but romantic. ;)
Experience, however, has now made me a sucker for the simple and authentic. A love note slipped into my book, a walk at dusk, holding hands,gut-laughing over an air-hockey game, etc. - the small, and therefore ephemeral moments. Don’t get me wrong: Africa via Greece would be cool, too. :)
Ultimately though, I think the most romantic thing a lover could do (for me, anyway) is be constant and authentic. To wake up every day and choose us. To have vision. I suppose it’s a form of commitment, albeit periphery to this discussion.
Essentially, the most romantic thing I know is when someone has the ability to push my reset button (as well as his own).
Because, while there are a million ways of doing so, it’s rare.
(I bet you’re sorry you asked that question! Ha!)
I do not mean love in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again
- Joan Didion (via meaghano)
Trees talk to each other at night.
All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.
Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.
Tiny bears live in drain pipes.
If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky.
The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.
Everyone knows at least one secret language.
When nobody is looking, I can fly.
We are all held together by invisible threads.
Books get lonely too.
Sadness can be eaten.
I will always be there.
(via heenzbeanz) (via sparkthesunoff) (via kathleenjoy)
Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler (via poemsarecool)
Likewise, I adore this surprise in a person as well: When my curiosity of someone becomes less superficial simply because my expectations (albeit un/subconscious) are replaced with the profound and essential.
The one thing I regret is that I will never have time to read all the books I want to read.
- Francoise Sagan
My number calling my name from the tin house
by the hot road
My name calling my number on the black phone
on the white wall
My black phone having trouble with sudden noises
My sudden silences reminding me of my calm wall
My sudden annoyances
reminding me the bird voice white like a cracked stick
My hurricane that split
the cedar while we watched hours scald and burn
tell average lies
and when I question such occurrences history keeps
handing me its mirrors
-Allan Peterson, from Crazyhorse: Number 76, Fall 2009
…each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in a party game. Say the word and pass it on. So be sparing. What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not.
- from The Road, C. McCarthy
- S: You looked really beautiful this morning! Dewy and glowing and happy - how do you do that at 7am? Weren't you out last night?
- Me: Thanks. Must be all this healthy living. (Ahem!) Actually, alcohol and the ocean do amazing things for my skin...
- S: Seriously though, back in the game on Friday? Or Monday?
- Me: Whichever which. I'm ready right now. Wanna go for a run?
- S: Well, yes, I was thinking that...or bookstore and terrifyingly unhealthy lunch and bloody marys at Smiling Fish?
- Me: Gimme 30 minutes.
One of the chief obstacles to this perfection of selfless charity is the selfish anxiety to get the most out of everything, to be a brilliant success in our own eyes and in the eyes of other men. We can only get rid of this anxiety by being content to miss something in almost everything we do. We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us – whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one things we need.
Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the “one thing necessary” may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.
Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
He calls back late last night, finds you hiding from the cold under ten pounds of blankets. Still awake. He feeds you lines from the old “30 Rock” episodes you sent him in a brief non-sequitor and makes you laugh harder than anyone which makes him laugh harder and you like the surprise, the pleasure in that laugh. He calls to apologize if he handled your comments too lightly earlier. He knows this time of year is weird, is made of minefields and mud pits. His brother says it’s a pressure cooker of everything we were, everything we feel we should be, all our memories and issues crammed into a few holi-days. And we should damn well know this enough to cut each other a little slack. But of course, we don’t. I think his brother is right. Picking the conversation back up, he tells me to think of everyone at that family gathering, at that work party and know that they envy my freedom. That they know I can take off for Nigeria tomorrow - untethered, unresponsible - and for all their domestic contentedness, their very bones are jealous of that. (His picking Nigeria makes me smile; He understands my language, what appeals.) I say “maybe” in the smallest, thickest voice I own and I know he knows this dam is perilously close to overflow.
He changes tactics. What is really to admire in this coupling? He says, you sanctify Fidelity and Partnership and Loyalty and Love, which I understand – but why do you have to believe it exists only in this one marital or romantic arrangement? These arrangements that fail us so often. And I don’t know the words to answer. Don’t know if I have an answer in this bucket of a hundred questions.
It would be easy, from any distance, to misunderstand. It is not some simple marriage and joint Christmas card and set of children I want so much. Fuck. I’m not even sure I want that at all. But it is this: I want to believe I am capable. I want to understand that it is possible, for someone like me. That, I think, is what I’m mourning preemptively. What if you and I are not made for such business? (And I can barely write that sentence. It costs that much to admit.)
When this sage adviser left once, years ago, I sent him with a compass and its own etched wisdom: “One cannot discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” Looking down on the late night snow removal man in frozen Bryant park, I am beginning to wonder if my whole life is not a deal that has been made with the same trade-off. Last night he says “You never struck me as someone who would want to have another body in your bed or your home for very long.” And I wonder if I am still that girl. Yes, I stayed for three years with someone, but I’ll tell just you it was amidst an unrelenting drumbeat of demands that he better know and accommodate me, that he learn my language, that he mine for his own new depths. I stayed over an undercurrent of wanderlust and dissatisfaction that he could not miss. Even I know those aren’t the ingredients for Forever. Even I know how this exhausts and erodes.
So I consider this man who is too much like me and think – if anyone would recognize this inability to fuse it is him. I hold up everyone’s breadth of advice like film in this winter’s dark lab and squint closely to determine which is True, which is Irrelevant. One of the smartest men I know once told me that you stay alone until you can’t not be with a specific someone. You stay alone until you can’t. He isn’t alone anymore and I see that he did it right. But I also see he won the gamble. What if I never learn how to win, when to bet? I have no interest in your dates and small talk, in your frivolous compatibility tests. I care only for things that Matter and Last and yet have no experience in construction. Worse, seem inordinately blessed at demolition. And last night, he was right – I really do love this ability to leave and choose and write without censoring and read without the noise of your television screaming. But what if that deal is forever. In the back of my head, maybe I always assumed the right shore would appear in time and thus remained unconcerned. What if now, I am finally learning these legs are no longer made for land?
What if this is our chemical make-up: Best, most active at the temperature of Just Me with interspersions of the occasional You?
I spent a long time sitting with this exact thought before I could articulate it even to myself (albeit rendered with half the beauty as you managed here, Erica…) It is tidal.
However, I also soon realized that both the wave and the shore are shaped by their meeting. Next year, that coastline could look entirely different.
And I hope so; I’m putting a lot of faith in that single thing…
Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity.
from Ted Hughes’s introduction to
The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
This metaphor for poetry and its elusive Purpose and Ideal Forms and Subjects is refreshing. If I can temporarily exhaust my ingenuity with frequency, maybe I’ll get into grad school and live messily, disheveled, safely cloistered in academic halls for the duration of my life.
Dovetails nicely with (from?) Keats’ idea of negative capability. It’s the daily temporary exhaustion, living in a near-constancy of/with the unresolved that will/does/did wear you/me/her out.