I read a wonderful article about love and how falling in love is the easy part (it’s involuntary, it’s chemical, biological … animal). Staying in love, though, is a choice. It hit home because my husband and I have been together for fifteen years. (Yikes! We’ve gotten through TWO seven-year itches.) And, admittedly, the fireworks are still there, just perhaps not as loud or sparkly. Two daughters later, one JUST a year old, it’s hard to get the passion going when you haven’t slept through the night for a year. (Yes. The whole babies sleep through the night at three months is a bunch of bullshit. If you’re one of THOSE parents who had that, just … just don’t tell me, okay?) But my husband and I have constructed a wonderful life with the kind of quiet love (yeah, the loud will come back more frequently one day) that has grown over years of unforgettable moments: practicing to be human statues to make money to pay the rent; hiking through the Himalayas, Torres del Paine and Peru; hitchhiking in Europe; buying our first apartment; dancing until dawn; dancing in the moonlight in Saint Marco’s Square; now raising two little miracles (who don’t sleep). I’m okay with the quiet. In fact, it suits my personality. I’m as loyal as hell and can’t imagine my world without this beautiful man (even through groggy mornings and earlier than I thought adults would ever go to bed nights).
My literary loves, though, aren’t quiet ones. I’m addicted to falling in love – that first-time-feeling when I read a new book. I’m a love junky! So I rarely re-read books. Rarely. (This could be because in college, we had to read and deconstruct novels ad nauseum). There are a few exceptions, but when I re-read, I do so for the craft of the novel, to study its construction, not for the love affair. My love affairs with novels, then, are my one-night stands and summer romances (the kind I never got into being single since I was too shy for that kind of thing.) . I’m kind of a book tramp, I guess. J So now, I give all my books away to the local library after reading them except for the ones that make my juices run, the ones that make me laugh out loud. Those, though, I don’t want to re-read because I want to keep that first impression, that giddy feeling of holy shit this is out of this world. These novels include: Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Book Thief, The Road, Going Bovine, Speak, Feed, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Five Flavors of Dumb, Winter Girls, As I Lay Dying, Cannery Row, The Day of the Locust, Breadcrumbs, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Fat Vampire … There are more. Many more.
Maybe one day I’ll revisit these novels. Maybe when my daughters or nieces are falling in love with them. It would be nice to read them down the road and talk about them and see the beauty of being head-over-heels for someone else’s words. Until then, though, I think I’ll just keep them on the bookshelf so I can glance at them and remember what is wonderful, what writing is truly and absolutely phenomenal. It’ll be like having my own personal collection of saucy love notes and souvenirs from those one-night stands. *sigh*