I’m pretty good. I wish I had answered this when you originally asked, because I was feeling even better that week, but for now, things are pretty good. I actually have this stable girlfriend relationship thing going on, and it’s very new to me, and it’s pretty fun. Also, the job people are good, and uh…
OH LORD WHAT AM I DOING MY LIFE IS NOTHING BUT I CAN BARELY KEEP TOGETHER JUST TREADING WATER AND WHAT MORE CAN I EXPECT TO DO EVERYTHING WASTES AWAY AND AHGGGH
So yeah, a little low on antidepressant drugs, but other than that, I’m fine.
The weekend before we visited my old elementary school.
The shape of the sky through the old and achingly tall and thin pines is the shape so many hours of my childhood spent daydreaming out perfectly circular windows. We both regressed to youth a bit by just swinging in the playground, but can she really know how deeply ingrained 8-year-old aimlessness is in me, triggered by looking vertiginously up those treetops?
Instead, I lead her down the trail that passes the marsh and tiny creek and I looked vertiginously down her pants. That, at least, we could enjoy together.
No, really. In a total reality-bending mindfuck kind of way. Think: The Truman Show, except instead of a choreographed telecast, it’s choreographed to be a slow, inexorable, inescapable brainwashing. Pressure their minds through groupthink and nigh-inexorable social processes most humans are prone to.
Given as I will never, ever have the resources for that and if I did I’d spend them instead on other things much higher priority to me, I usually just give people enough rope to hang themselves and try not to loose sleep over it. I try not to have enemies — try not to let anyone live “rent-free in my brain” as the saying goes.
Are you going to do something to liven up this dull lack o' theme?
I have absolutely no plans to do so. I’m almost incapable of not spending hours figuring out how theme-ing (theming?) works before changing the settings, and I really don’t have the computer-figuring-out processing hours of late to really spare. (This is because for almost all of my brain’s available computer-figuring-out processing hours per week are getting claimed by a company paying me for them, so…)
I sit down to type these words when suddenly the sword swings down to meet my neck when suddenly I duck and roll and leap to my feet in the forbidden Prancing Dragon pose when suddenly an armored hippopotamex on hire to the Black Council rips back the ceiling tiles and bellows my death when suddenly a Braxxian teleport screeches my bones across two galaxies to the cratered birthing ground of the EEK-SLU-MAUG Clan when suddenly the Triple-Tongued God reaches a taloned hand across the sky and blots out the sun when suddenly my two boys barrel over the horizon in their custom-made Yee-Haw Cannon Trikes firing their laser-slingshots and planning mischief when suddenly I leap into the molten heart of caldera as the heart of the planet erupts when suddenly the Phoenexian emerges from its eight millennia slumber and soars toward the sun when suddenly I snag a grappling hook into its bejeweled thigh and say goodbye to solid ground when suddenly heartbroken Antizons emerge from thunderclouds and scream their sonic bolts at me as silver tears stream from their many-faceted eyes when suddenly the great Sky Sail of the lost Kryton Lord’s pleasure armada slides into view when suddenly all eyes turn when suddenly vengeance is sworn when suddenly doom is predicted when suddenly all is lost when suddenly when suddenly
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 2 AM 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.
A: Two or perhaps three, approaching now, from beyond the tree in the long low light of morning. From some black place: a reckoning neither required nor bidden, a reckoning no judge could have ordered, but a reckoning nonetheless. One of the men carries a single glove, ready to grip the hot,…