I’ve just finished reading Junot Diaz’ new book “This is how you lose her” and I am in love. No, not with Junot (I don’t know him, although I did email him yesterday – he replied, I invited him to lunch) but with his ability to make a point in simple, yet elegant ways.
“The half-life of love is forever” – that’s an epiphany reached by the main character in the book and I read it while sitting at my favorite diner yesterday during a forced sabbatical from anything having to do with thinking. When I want to read, I go to this one diner in Tarrytown and I get a booth and I spread out a books and magazines and Moleskins and I focus. The diner staff is wonderful – they come over and ask how I’m doing, ask what’s new, ask what I’m reading, then they seem to know that it’s time for words to take over and they let me sit, sometimes for hours, with my thoughts.
I write so much about love that you’d think it’s all I think about. In reality, it isn’t. I think about work, a lot, and A, even more. And I think about the world and where I fit in it and I wonder about the election and if things will get worse before they get better. Sometimes, I think about what I want to write next and more often than not, I am proofing something or sketching out what others are working on so I don’t hold them up.
But that half-life. It’s a real sucker punch when you realize it is true. It’s like realizing that your parents aren’t perfect, or that grass leaves you itchy after you’ve rolled around in it all day or that the sun will burn your eyes if you stare at it too long.
Or at least that’s what it felt like to me.
Of course, I finished the book only hours after my therapist said it was time for me to get serious about removing people and things – you know, to get ready for the next thing. I can’t say she’s wrong. In fact, she’s so right, it doesn’t even bother me to admit it anymore. She used words like ‘elevation’ and ‘self-preservation’ and said something about caretaking for people and each word was like a reminder of a conversation I had with myself on my drive home from being offered my new job. I remember it hit me that things were about to change and I had to be ready.
I should say that I not only loved “This is how you lose her” but in some ways, I identified with both the main character and the love he loses. We’ve all been there – or at least I think we have. We think we know what we want but we don’t – and yet we hold on for dear life when the Titanic is sinking because we refuse to be lost at sea with Jack. Meanwhile, Rose is sailed off without us on her door.
What the hell did I just say? I think I said: Sometimes people have to be lost to be found. Or something like that. I think I read that in the Bible once. Or an Ann Rice book.
Go read Junot Diaz. You’ll thank yourself.
Reading his work is like hearing some of the guys I’ve met over the years – they are hard on he outside, yet something on the inside keeps them slightly in touch with their own humanity, even if they don’t always want to admit it. Too often, they fuck up relationships because of this contradiction between who they are and who they want people to see – I guess there are times when I am not so far removed from this same behavior. Maybe that’s the reality for many of us.