Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To Woo or Not Too Woo... Love in Literature

... So, I wanted to have some fun with you this Valentine's Day.

You should know that I hold no stock in the whole lovey-dovey, super-sappy, roses-are-red (and also $85 a dozen) Hallmark holiday. I don't sit around the house all day giddily anticipating my hubby to come home armed with a box of fine dark chocolates, or a bottle of wine and a sparkly, rose scented card professing his undying and ever evolving love for me. I've been with my baby-daddy long enough to know that you don't need  a holiday to tell you when you should shower your honey with love. In fact, if he's still waiting on Valentine's Day as a cue to spoil you with chocolate covered strawberries and a nice night out at a sexy restaurant, at this point I'd say the love is gone and he's simply going through the motions. Am I right, Ladies?

It's such a "newbie" holiday, isn't it? In the first flush of love boy chases girl, boy asks girl out, girl accepts, boy sweats over what to get girl for Valentine's Day - a bracelet with red rubies? A heart shaped necklace? What if I go overboard? What if I don't go far enough? Is a vase full of flowers going to demonstrate just how desperately I want to get in her pants? What if she gets me a stupid stuffed tiger that purrs when you squeeze it? Or worse yet, one of those monkeys with a motion sensor that plays Wild Thing whenever you walk in front of it....!

Blogger, please!

Today, I thought I would honor Valentine's Day by demonstrating just how fucked up an individual I am. I want to celebrate all the wacky, stalky, inappropriate ways we've come to know love in literature. Because if you are anything like me, you know that "Happily Ever After" only exists in fairy tales and the minds of people who are deluding themselves. Real love, the kind that sticks around forever, has been torn apart and sewed back together, its seams are showing and there are bald patches where the fur's rubbed through. It's black and blued, and perhaps even tattooed, yet it's never worse for the wear and looks abso-fucking-lutely lovely after all of these years...

True Love Is A Tough Pill To Swallow

This is the kind of love I've always longed for. The kind that tears you up inside, the kind that leaves you on your knees, breathlessly screaming because your guts have been torn out and turned around and stuffed back inside. It's the kind that kills you softly, stinging like a razor across a vein, so beautiful that you can't even look at it for fear that the sight of it alone will stop your heart.

You can find this kind of love in...

Just about any collection of poetry by Rod McKuen. I'm serious. This guy can take a lonely diner on a terrace, a million miles from his lover, and turn it into this gut wrenching poem about how he keeps tracing her face into the tablecloth so he doesn't forget what she looks like. Or how he describes his lover's body as a roadmap that he'd like to traverse, from freckle to freckle, memorizing every hill and every valley.

Nate Slawson's Panic Attack, USA is a different sort of poetry all together. Where Rod takes simple things and makes them heartbreakingly beautiful, Nate's poetry touches you in places your mommy and daddy warned you about. How incredible is this - ""I want a nuclear tongue so I can lick dirty words into the bottom of your feet"?  and  "... every morning I rasp for you..."

Not For Lack Of Trying  

This is the unrequited kind of love. The kind of love that no matter what you say, what you do, or how you do it, the object of your affection just ain't interested. So much so, in fact, that the more you attempt to do to get them to like you, the more you seem to push them away. It's the love you've always wanted, only it doesn't want you, at least not in that way.

You can find this kind of love in...

Larry Closs's Beatitude is a book that dissects love at all angles. Falling for your best friend only to realize that they are perfectly content to keep the relationship the way it's been is a tough situation to be in. How do you look them in the eye, how do you go on spending time together? This is an exceptionally well written debut novel that dissects love in all it's varied forms.

It's Better To Have Loved and Lost

This is the kind of love that leaves us, most reluctantly. The kind that you had and held, until the world thought it would be funny to rip it from your hands. The kind that breaks your heart once it's gone. The kind you may never, ever, recover from.

You can find this kind of love in...

Michael Kimball's US cuts straight into the emotional core of each moment. It tells the story of a man who's wife is slowly slipping away from him, forcing him to come to terms with the fact that one day he will awaken to her no longer being there. Its sparse sentences add to the breathless panic our narrator must be feeling over losing the one he loves the most.

Whiskey Heart demonstrates just how deep the drink can cut us. It's full of tormented characters, people who - though they want to - can't seem to figure out how to love one another properly. Sparing us the flowery detail, it allows itself to wallow in misery, it breathes out an air of inevitability and acceptance. It, too, deals with loss and the inability to recover from it, but in a much more frustrating way.

A Relationship Gone Good Gone Bad Gone Good Again

This is the kind of love that's all fucked up. You love them, you hate them, you turn into an asshole and hurt them, then you love them again. And they sit there and take it, all of it, or dish it back in their own fucked up way. It's the kind of love that you're surprised to have walked away from alive, if you end up walking away at all.

You can find this kind of love in...

Ahhh.. Termite Parade. Joshua Mohr stole my heart with this one. Have you ever gotten to the point where, knowing the relationship isn't working, knowing the effort you are putting in will never equal the effort coming back out, knowing that you will never leave them, you have finally had enough, decide to do something you ordinarily wouldn't ever do, something you know you shouldn't but you just can't help yourself, you tell yourself they deserve what they have coming, and then you just do it, without thinking about it? This is that book!

Ethan Hawke's debut novel blew me away when I first read it. Its one of those cute, heartbreaking, poor guy sort of quick reads.... I wanted to be the girl that broke this kids heart. I wanted to be the girl he pined for. I wanted to be the girl that picked up the pieces and put him all back together again.The girl that he treated like shit so i could treat him like shit back. Its everything a relationship-gone-bad-gone-good-gone-bad should be. 

Oh So Inappropriate Love

There are certain norms we follow when it comes to love, yes? And then there are deviations from those norms... strange, twisted, almost illegal deviations....

You can find this kind of love in...

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore. Oh this book is wrong on so many levels. But it never once stopped me from wanting to turn the page. It's a very well written, thought-inspiring take on what it is to be human, what it was to be an ape, and what happens when one attempts to become the other. And yes, there are some sexy-times scenes that I still cannot bleach from my brain. 

Lethem had a lot of fun writing this one, I can tell. As She Climbed Across the Table is the story of Philip, Alice, and Lack. Its sort of a love triangle, of sorts. Philip and Alice were a couple. Alice meets Lack, a void with a personality, and falls in love with him. Philip wont let Alice go, Alice cant let Lack go, yet Lack doesnt want Alice. Get ready for science to blow you... away.

So now that I've shared mine, what books do you think of when you think about love?

No comments:

Post a Comment