I SHOULD BE STUDYING.
instead I read a book called The Romantic, which I both liked and hated. one of those books (i’m not sure whether or not) I wish i’d never read. (because nothing is regrettable!)
anyway, as I do, the marked bits:
She and I are lying next to each other on the living-room floor. After weeks of going unvacuumed, the carpet is opulent with colourful specks whose source I cannot imagine, also threads, hairs and dead flies kindled within the rungs of light that come through the venetian blinds. (p.55)
“Romance,” it’s called. By Arthur Rimbaud.
When you are seventeen, you aren’t really serious.
–One fine evening, you’ve had enough of beer and lemonade,
And the rowdy cafes with their dazzling lights!
–You go walking beneath the green lime trees of the promenade.
–Then you see a very tiny rag
Of dark blue, framed by a small branch,
Pierced by an unlucky star, which is melting away
With soft little shivers, small, perfectly white… (p.107)
For me to say that they sound like bad influences would come across as bourgeois. Still, I hint at it, releasing my disquiet in a parody of concern over his welfare. I can hardly admit to myself, much less to him, that the truth is I’m jealous. He seems abnormally interested in these people, far more so than he is in me. His having friends at all feels like a betrayal. (p.111)
** Re. p.116: YOU CAN’T REPLY WITH “Yep,” WHEN ASKED “Do you love me?”
“How can we know that every living thing is not aware? Perhaps the order and symmetry we perceive in Nature result less from genetic determinism than from an awareness, between one like thing and another, that they are alike and to exactly what degree this is so. The branches on trees grow to a length that results in the mature foliage having an overall bloom shape, with no single branch shooting out conspicuously, because each branch is so perfectly aware of its neighbour to be in perfect agreement with it. Hair, fur, grass and petals grow only so long and no longer. Similarly, intelligence and aspiration, in all creatures, are constrained within consensual limits. If it were possible for a hair or branch or any creature to live its entire existence from conception onward in a complete isolation of which it were completely unaware, who knows how far it might reach?” (p.193)
** this one frustrates me. it’s a perfectly valid point all unpurposely mucked up to seem unreasonable.
“I tell myself there’s a portion of pain in the world, a daily portion, and it has to go somewhere. When I’m in pain, somebody else isn’t. A child dying of bone cancer in New Jersey. A man being tortured in Kampala. For the space of time that my throat burns, their pain lifts.” (p.248)
“He doesn’t love me,” I think. It’s a thought I’ve had so many times I hardly hear it any more as a statement of fact. It has become a kind of mantra, what I say to remind myself never again to get my hopes up. (p.257)
His face is nearly translucent; you can see the finer veins as if, at this late date, what was hidden may as well start showing itself. Overall, he’s beginning to resemble a delicate child. I tell him this, and he says, “I used to think that if living in the world was natural and good, then living should rejuvenate you. I couldn’t understand why we didn’t start out old and decrepit and end up young and perfect.” (p.300)
“I love you above all others I love.” (p.301)
** it makes me miserable. plus I keep edging towards the thought that I can relate. but it’s not that, just that I understand. but then I don’t, because even if you can’t see something as betrayal.. if you know your other will, why, you don’t need to!
saying no causes suffering.. but if yes, will, too, well you need to weigh it. and cause suffering last to someone you love; otherwise to the one whom it would hurt the most..
but i’ve a whole journal of scribblings working that one out, so I don’t blame her.
when he said “Now and forever,” it made me twice as miserable. ah! yes, hate the whole book. I desperately want to ask her why she wrote it. why she felt the need to impose this horrible story on the world. on the other hand, that indifference is still there, despite me not being able to see the bad in anything.. 🙂
no, that’s as betrayal.. even if you can’t see it as a flaw, you can see how someone else would.