Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obsessions, Love, and How I'm Feeling Like a Kid Again

I am reading Just Kids by Patti Smith (I am actually done, but I find myself not ready to give it up yet--rereading passages and rethinking things). I actually bought it a while back, and it has been laying beside my bed with all of the other books I order on late night Amazon splurges. After finishing my last book, One Day, I was in the mood to read another kind of love story. So I picked it up. And I am so glad that I did. Basically, I'll just come right out and tell you that I am obsessed with this book. Crazily, drunkenly so. I now find myself wearing a lot of black and sitting in my office during the day, watching old Patti Smith performances on YouTube, drinking coffee and reading a lot of Rimbaud, Blake, and Verlaine. And it is wonderful because despite the fact that I'm bedecked in business casual, sitting at a desk paid for by the state of VA and frequently interrupted by the sounds of squawking students and their petty issues, I feel very much like I did when I was that girl, traipsing across the Sunken Gardens, high on Yeats. There is a certain idealism and naivete that Smith imbues her writing with that is so universal, so perfect. And I am in love with it. I am also in love with the love that Smith has for Robert Mapplethorpe in the book, in love with the way their lives turn and pull at one another and how their relationship evolves. Without getting into anything very philosophical or doe-eyed, I will just say that I have been thinking a lot about love and the nature of it, and how there is this person who you find yourself with and the feelings go beyond love and are really just wrapped up in something that is more amazing and much better than the dichotomous, didactic view that I think we all carry about relationships and love and whatever. (PUT DOWN THE BONG, MORGAN!)
Robert and I still kept our vow. Neither would leave the other. I never saw him through the lens of his sexuality. My picture of him remained intact. He was the artist of my life.
I read that the other night, and no shit, I highlighted it, like the good Type A college graduate I am. It is one of the more beautiful things I've read, amazing in its simplicity. It goes in my memory, right beside other quotes from Churchill's Mad Forest (a Romanian play I read in college), War and Peace, and a Confederacy of Dunces as things I want to remember forever. Anyway, I was nearing the end of the book last night and laying beside Alice in bed. She was asleep, laying on her side, her warm legs naked under a pulled up nightgown. I was curled around her, much like an oyster protecting its pearl. And I thought, "Someday, someone will love Alice like this. And she will love them." And I don't know who it will be, what gender they will be, what the in's and out's of their relationship will be. This baby, laying here, curled beside me with her fuzzy hair and chubby arms and "Slavic d" (Matt is convinced that Alice uses several Slavic linguistic traits in her speech because he talks to her some in Russian), will someday be all that someone else can think of. And that person will not be me. She will belong to someone else, to the world, and not to me. Part of that made me sad, but the other part was mind-blowing. I imagine Alice, conquering her dreams, just like I imagine Gabby and Sam doing the same. But thinking of her being in love kind of threw me a bit. But I went to sleep, peaceful and happy, because I get to experience all of this with my kids, perhaps from afar, but still very much together.


  1. Oh I finished Just Kids in February and it hit me. Really hit me. Life-changing choice to read, right near the top of my list for best book experiences Want to keep the copy and let Emerson read it in high school so I can see how she reacts to it.

    I often think about how another person will love Emerson with their whole being, and she to that person. It doesn't scare me, I want her to enjoy that sort of love, I wish it on her. I hope I can help her grow into a person who realizes she deserves such love and goes out and gets it. Funny how if I read this book a decade ago I would have a completely different reaction - still love it but it would hit different part sof my heart.

  2. I felt the same way, and wondered if I could trust Gabby to give it back to me after she reads it or just order three copies now.:-)

    I always think about my kids, and who they will fall for and what that love will bring out for them. It is probably one of the best parts of being a parent, I think--getting to experience all of this from different vantages and viewpoints.