The Courage to Love Creatively

anais nin

I recently finished a novel in which the narrator noted several times that she loved her ex-husband more once they divorced than she did while they were married. She also checked herself, reflecting on how it’s easier to love when love is a concept instead of a daily reality. Or maybe, she posited, space and distance is the place in which love is possible with some particular people. The novel, “My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout, is not about divorce, or marriage, and so the narrator didn’t go much further with this thinking.

I have, though. Continue reading

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The vanity of crushes

A friend of mine found himself instantly and achingly attracted to a woman he met at a business mixer. She was an accomplished young executive, like himself. An extrovert who never met a stranger, like himself. Interested in politics, well versed in novels and music, beautiful and confident to a point bordering on cockiness. Like himself.

The attraction horrified him, especially once he realized it was returned.

She was single. He was married.

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A Southern great-grandmother: “If they were gay and whatever, so what. She was one of us.”

I’ve asked my grandmother several times over the years to tell me about Maude Pick, her aunt Pearl’s lifelong companion and housemate.

Maybe because the issue has been discussed so persistently lately on the cable news networks she watches between Andy Griffith reruns from her easy chair on her lake house porch, but this Easter weekend – following the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments on the Defense Of Marriage Act – she seemed more relaxed when talking about the relationship between Pearl and “Pick” (as Maude was known).

The video here was shot by my daughter on that lakeside porch in teeny Dadeville, Alabama. My mom and I are in a few shots, as is my parents’ golden retriever. It’s a little grainy and jumpy, and I wish I had photos of Pearl and Pick, but I love this all the same. Regardless of what you think about this issue, I hope it inspires you to ask your grandparents interesting questions, and to record their responses.

Life is short. Love is always.

The Divorce as a Swimming Pool Metaphor

Several youngish divorced women and I recently swapped stories of our “crazy year(s)” — that whacked-out period after our marriages ended when we had no idea how to behave like normal single people. The conversation brought to mind a favorite relationship analogy: Divorce as a swimming pool. It goes like this:

Swimming pools are great.

A lot of us grew up aspiring to have one in the backyard.

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