Have you ever read a book (or watched a movie) that, in your opinion, drew some kind of romance out of nowhere? I imagine you have. And I'm not referring, necessarily, to a romance that was contrived or useless with relation to the work; I only mean romances that – good or bad – were very sudden in terms of their appearance. I'll give you what is, in my judgment, a good example: The Graduate, released in 1967 (three days after Dr. Dolittle, in point of fact). The movie starts with one romance & suddenly jumps to another, that latter one materializing around a character who was, before that point in the film, a pretty minor personage. Now you'll recall that I am not (here) criticizing the suddenness of that particular development. I am merely saying that some works – books, too, though at the moment I'm troubled to think of a good literary example – will take some relatively minor character, and then effect a romance around them with all the rapidity of a sneeze.
I've always wondered about that kind of writing. What is it meant to capture? – stylization? verisimilitude? some resemblance to Richard Gere's marriages? Well, who in the world knows. But to the point – while I won't claim that I am experiencing this thing right now (not at all), it is true that my mind is now preoccupied in a very sudden cyclone concerning
1. you. No, it's not romantic – if anyone said so, I would laugh until Dr. Pepper came out of my nose – but it has all that suddenness which baffles me in The Graduate or those books that I'm hard-pressed to recall. A book you might know, called Pride and Prejudice – that one not difficult to recall, on account of its inclusion on my M.A. exam – gives us, perhaps, an interesting analogue as to my present meditations on you. Suddenly I am questioning my assumptions about you, bending and scrutinizing them, wondering if I carved them myself in some artificial cave of dismissal or envy. No, life is not a book, however literary & cinematic our experiences can be; and to that end, you will realise that nothing presages some starry-eyed conclusion to these ruminations. But maybe I feel that, as it were, I am now in the pages of those awkward gearshifts I could never fathom. Is there not something strange and gentle about it? Is there not a little temptation to sympathize with your smile (which, suddenly, I am aware of), to notice those preoccupations of yours (which, not suddenly, everyone is aware of), and to ask myself (more suddenly than any of Richard Gere's marriages), Who in the heck are you? Why have I never had a real conversation with you? And can you tell a real conversation from a blue wahoo?
And there is flattery involved. Flattery that anyone – anyone – would think of these questions before I did. Before you did – a flattery of which, however small, I have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Do you see what I mean? Or are you an idiot? Are you like those hackneyed kids in Christmas movies, who say to one another, Ah, Santy Claus ain't real! despite the fact that they exist in a universe where he clearly freaking is? Or do you have it in you to be a listener? A thinker? A homo sapiens? Hmmm?
. . .
Ugh. I read something recently, which said (paraphrased),
The sign of an intelligent person is this:
Being able to entertain an idea without accepting it.
I've accepted nothing, and neither do I ask you to. But maybe that's what these abrupt emotional plot-twists are about: entertaining ideas. Entertaining ideas, we might say, that might be entertaining themselves.
. . .
Bless the Lord