Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Love is the immovability of truth... and other things.

I wrote this post yesterday (elsewhere) on bits of Everything Is Illuminated. I snuck this post in while I was at work, so didn't go through these things as thoroughly as I would have liked. But just some idle thoughts, and felt this is appropriate to post here.

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Just when I was about to write off Jonathan Safran Foer's acclaimed novel as "eh, whatever", he pulls out a line like this and makes me stop. Read again. Keep reading. Then stop. Go back. Read again.

Love, in your writing, is the immovability of truth.

I've never thought about love in these terms before, but it clicks. Makes sense.

I think about love a lot. Not just in the girlie, frou-frou, pink ribbons sort of way. But thoughts of what love is. What it means to truly love someone. How to love someone better. What real love is. What love makes us. What we do for love. If it is real or imagined. Things like that.

And I think this line means so much. Speaks volumes of love. Love is truth. Love is truth in so many ways. Love is not lying. Love is not secrets. Love is truth. No matter how the world changes, how things evolve, revolve, the truth of love doesn't change. Loving someone is not letting truths change. Is not letting loves change. Loving someone is giving the truth, the whole truth. Faithfulness, fidelity, a whole heart. I am idealistic, but I know this to be true. I know that when I love someone, I will give them truth. This is not to say white lies aren't necessary sometimes. But this is to say that overall, in the big picture, it is Truth that I offer them. And I expect the same in return. And love makes this immovable. Love makes it impossible to not give this. Love is sharing truth, having truth, seeing with clarity of vision. Seeing and still loving.

The book is growing on me, and I'm starting to appreciate it. Appreciate the humor coupled with underlying melancholia. The kitschy gimmickiness bothered me at first - felt like he was purposely being so out there - but I have to hand it to him, beneath all of that (and I'm not one of those people who think he is genius for having used his devices, I'm liking him despite these devices) he has moving moments, beautiful thoughts, and this wonderful undercurrent of confused nostalgia that I am starting to really enjoy. Especially the naivity of the interpreter. Oh man, the following passage got me this morning on my commute in:

I parrot: Grandfather is not a bad person, Jonathan. Everyone performs bad actions. I do. Father does. Even you do. A bad person is someone who does not lament his bad actions. Grandfather is now dying because of his. I beseech you to forgive us, and to make us better than we are. Make us good.

Isn't that what it is? That's how I think of people most of the time. People wonder why I give people the benefit of the doubt, why I give people second chances, why I don't walk away, cut people out of my life when they do questionable things to me. And that's how I feel. That people mostly are not bad. I have issue with people who do not believe they have anything to be sorry for, and I don't forgive people who don't want to be forgiven. But if someone wants to be forgiven, I usually will, right away. Because I think good people make bad choices. And I believe that people can change for the better. That I only have to give people chances to change, and they will be better.

Now I'm not saying I'm good either. Or that I'm better than other people. I'm saying that everyone deserves a chance. That that's how I percieve the world and the people I meet and care about and grow to love. Because I'd hope for that same benefit of the doubt. I'd hope that people would give me a second chance too, because god knows how many mistakes I've made in my lifetime too. How many dui bu qi ren de shi I've done too. I think we all have the ability to make each other better people, good people. I really do.

And then there was this:

I think that this is why I relish writing for you so much. It makes it possible for me to be not like I am, but as I desire for Little Igor to see me. I can be funny, because I have time to meditate about how to be funny, and I can repair my mistakes when I perform mistakes, and I can be a melancholy person in manners that are interesting, not only melancholy. With writing, we have second chances....... It is true, I am certain, that you will write very many more books than I will, but it is me, not you, who was born to be the writer.

When me and J. used to fight or I'd be unhappy about something, I'd write him these long emails explaining how I felt about everything. Finally, after one particular email in which I hinted at a possible ultimatum, (and I was in HK) he told me he never wanted to discuss these matters over email ever again. That if I had something to tell him, I should tell him in person.

I knew this, and understood that to him it was a respect sort of thing. And it's not to say that I didn't agree. But I felt like I could say things best as how I meant them when I wrote them. In person, I was always tripping over words, saying things in ways I didn't necessarily mean. But writing, I could perfect things. Say them exactly how I meant them. In the exact way to deliver them. Writing was my strength and best way to express myself.

So I get what Alex is saying above.

However, unlike him, I often feel like when I write, I'm most me. More me than when I'm not writing. I recently made the realization that, someone who reads my writing and understands it, understands me. Because I am so often so many different people, different personalities. Playing to people, playing off people. Catering to people's needs. I meet people and I can intuitively tell what part I'm supposed to play, how I have to be. It's not to say I'm being fake, because I'm not. Because all these personalities are me, part of me. But when I'm writing, I'm writing for no audience. I'm writing for myself. And because I'm writing for myself, it's possibly the one time I am who I am. Karen tells me she can pick my writing out of a dozen pieces. That I'm remarkably consistent in my style, even if tone and voice and all that are different. That my quality of writing remains the same. Unlike her, who is versatile and can write all sorts of different things in all sorts of styles. Me, I have one style, and that's my writing. And I think it's because it's me, through and through. The only time I feel most comfortable in my own skin is when I'm losing myself in words. I love writing for the ability I have to control it, to go back and make things sound perfect... but I think it's because it's so hard for me to be me. But when I write, I can make it perfect, perfectly in line with what I know to be me inside. That's why I obsess over the way things sounds, the musicality. Cuz inside me I hear something beautiful and lyrical, and it lifts me, makes me feel incredibly moved. And I want to get it perfect, to share this with the world, so they can hear and feel what I do...

Alright Safran Foer, you've won me over. Took getting halfway through the novel, but you've finally won me over. I'm finding this beautiful... despite myself.

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