Saturday, August 27, 2011

Love Doesn't Make the World Go Round ...

My friend Hilary recently made a post in her blog that I enjoyed reading even though I disagree with the general outcome. She describes a frustration over sentimentality that many writers can sympathize with, feeling as if you're perpetually writing about love. A lot of readers are probably frustrated by the same thing.

If you're curious about how I feel, go check out the comments, and while you're there, seriously look at the entire blog, it's a fantastic read. In honor of my car purchase this morning (2002 stick-shift Mazda Protege with more miles on it than my suitcases) I want to talk about love, and how it's all about adjusting.

I don't crush a lot, I fall in love. A whole lot. My way of falling in love is a continual adjustment between loving what's in front of me and loving what it could be. For example, while buying cars I fell for each one pretty quickly, then got disgusted by the issues they had (torn seats, wide turns, dents). Yet the love returned as fast as it left when I imagined what I could do with them after a little work.

That type of oscillation is exhausting, and I think it takes different forms in people. I know a woman who lives out Plath's quote about neuroticism (about ten quotes down, or CTRL+F "neurotic"). The misogynist in me would say that all women want two mutually exclusive things at the same time, maybe more. The misanthrope would say who doesn't? What I like about the quote is she describes herself as flying "back and forth" between the two. It's not pure craziness. She doesn't want eat and talk at the same instant, or really express a desire to combine her two desires. One second she wants breath, and one second she wants to hold her breath. This seems neurotic, but at the root, by adjusting and giving in to each desire at the appropriate time, isn't that how we live?

The line between happiness and misery is accepting that every time you adjust, you will probably have to adjust again (maybe even sooner rather than later). Enjoy that today you'll wake up wanting someone to talk to, and tonight you'll go to bed wanting someone whose conversational skills are lacking (or vice versa). Enjoy that maybe you won't be able to talk to the one person you want to talk to right now, but maybe she'll be around tomorrow, when you don't feel like talking. It's funny, and it's crazy, and it's all about love.

Because love doesn't make the world go round, it makes it more sine-uous,
- John


  1. Marianne Williamson has nothing on Plath.

    I don't trust people who are not constantly adjusting and reevaluating, or flying back and forth. Nothing in this world is constant. And I don't think it's a product of being uncertain or lacking confidence, but is instead an absolute necessity in an ever growing and evolving world. The alternative just begs stagnation.

    Plus we all know this is what makes the world go round:

  2. Ha, as BT would say the only constant is change (

    I've had my great-aunt in town for the last few days, and we've had a lot of talk about technology and the way people keep up with it or fall behind. Now, to keep up with technology requires technology (RSS feeds, online articles, etc) and the moment you stop to take a breath is the moment everyone else pulls ahead and leaves you behind.

    And that XKCD has it on the money. Tangentially related, we need to find you someone to write you an aubade.