To fall or not to fall for a reader/writer?
I was browsing the Interwebs just to pass the evening time when I realized my usual Gchat status — the supposedly anonymous quote, “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die” — had mysteriously erased itself from my Gmail profile. Determined to find the exact quote again (before remembering that Gchat usually saves your old status messages, duh), I did a quick Google search to find the entire write-up surrounding said quote (found in previous entry), as well as the three write-ups copied and pasted below for this entry.
Naturally, the first thing I did after reading the “If a writer falls in love with you…” (and feeling like so many of its points spoke to my own soul) blurb was to send it to Boy, who immediately responded with the following:
Boy: man that is terrible
“Or they might sleep right through the alarm and forget to get you up for work. Or call you home from work to kill a spider. Or refuse to speak to you after finding out you’ve never seen To Kill A Mockingbird. Or spend the last of the rent money on five kinds of soap”
yeaa that is absolutely terrible
Boy: too much of a hipster post for me
i think you need some fresh air
Clearly, the posts making the case for the ubiquitous you to date a writer backfire by virtue of their own romanticism and the failure to realize that being romantic to make the case for romanticism proves severely counterproductive. Ironically, even the arguments made against dating writers… well, I don’t know. They’re written by writers too. You can’t say they don’t also require a certain bit of that writer otherworldliness (read: untouchable bubble of thought, or just being completely incomprehensible) and romanticism to fully comprehend.
Just my musings. Read on if you wish/must.
You Should Date An Illiterate Girl
Charles Warnke, Jan. 19, 2011 (Thought Catalog)
Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.
Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.
Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.
Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.
Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.
Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.
Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.
Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.
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Date A Girl Who Reads
Rosemarie Urquico (in response to Charles Warnke)
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2am clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
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Don’t Fall In Love With A Writer
I’ll tell you about it. Writers are like aliens. They string words of proportions to make people understand and see what their views yet behind all these, they have their own planets, they have their own language that even people of their own kind don’t get to fathom, at least most of the times. Writers are boring. They tend to look at the sky without particularly knowing why, or which part of the sky they’re staring at. They swoon over silver clouds while talking to a bunch of alter egos they always drag within them.
Don’t fall in love with a writer. They love weaving magic carpets of words that will lift your poor soul far beyond the fray and cacophony of heartache and strife and will carry you to a realm of fantasies and dreams. Still, remember that words are words and fantasies are fantasies and that essays are just essays.
Writers have the most deadly temper and the quickest switch-on switch-off mood. They are slaves to their emotion and can dramatize even a rusty leaking faucet. They justify everything in the name of their art. They read other people’s receipt and tend to eavesdrop at a couple having coffee nearby, not minding that you’re at his side, telling the most awesome tales of ants trailing the sidewalk. This, of course, is justifiable by saying “it’s research.”
Also, writers give the cheapest of cheapest gifts. They’ll dote you with cards made of milk cartons with a written four-verse poem that doesn’t even rhyme. They’ll bring you flowers handed to them by admirers and would sometimes write “I love you” in your arms. Because state of poverty, to writers, are major avenues of their calling. They look at themselves as creatively complex and hard to understand in a Pablo Picaso cubism sort of way individuals since suffering is art. And because life in the media industry can be a cruel and a fickle beast, they can’t accept just any job. It has to serve their purpose. It has to contribute to a general public and must live to their philosophy yet, still, pinch a nerve near the heart.
Even the most intimate details of your relationship could most of the times turn up in their writings. And although they are mightily concealed behind metaphors and allegories, you, of course, will still recognize them. It’s all about you after all.
Although they never really intend to insult you, they will sheepishly remind you that “your” and “you’re” are different and that “despite” is the right one and “despite of” is the wrong one. I’m telling you, they’ll notice the smallest of details about you as an orgy of your descriptions are banging wildly inside their heads. Yes, even the color of your socks.
Conversations with them are tough. They will talk about characters in books and art films as if they’re real, as if they’re someone tangible, someone he recently got a chance for a vis-à-vis over some tea and biscuits. Annoyingly, they have this habit of writing parts of your conversation on some dank piece of tissue paper. And like lawyers, everything you said is valid and can be used in favor or against you in future discussions.
Probably the hardest one to understand is their addiction to solitude. It might not be close to that of Ernest Hemingway’s seclusion, but a time alone is always a must. It’s not a snob. It’s not barricading. But in solitude, not only he is gathering his thoughts, formulating sets of theories, but also re-arranging himself.
But writers are one of the most romantic people you’ll ever meet. They’re lamentably passionate and will adore you for the most natural thing about you. For they don’t succumb to the societal dictates of beauty and form. You are an abstract masterpiece seen in a philosophical beautiful way. They are phenomenally too human that even their tears are sometimes trails of fluid words. They’re achingly martyrs and they can tell you in thousand ways how much you mean to them, how much they adore you and how much they love you.
So don’t fall in love with a writer. Don’t fall in love with me.