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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Magnet? Glue? Dessert?

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Gabrielle Zevin) still has me aching more than a week later. If you're a reader, this 2014 treasure will speak to you on a few levels. At some point, I will devote an entire post to it. But first, I must recover.

In the meanwhile, ever since finishing Zevin's novel, inspired by the main relationship in her book, I've been continually reflecting on the life my wife and I have built together. Has literature played a significant role in any long term partnership in your life? Was it the magnet that drew you to an important person? Or, like my partnership and marriage, is it more like a glue that has helped bond the relationship? Or, is it perhaps more like dessert, i.e. an occasional treat you share with a special person in your life?

From my perspective, the magnet that first drew us together was music. My wife and I first spoke in April 1978 at a place where I was playing solo. Many of our earliest conversations were about music; she still recalls flattering comments I made about the cassette collection in her car at the time. And that music magnet still works its magic. Then, not long after we met, we discovered a shared passion for literature that has steadily grown over forty one years. In a moving passage in A.J. Fikry, the rapture two people can experience bonding over a book jointly loved reminded me of the first time I read aloud to my wife from Gore Vidal's Kalki. I also clearly recall the first hardcover she ever gave me as a gift - John Irving's The World According to Garp. I still have that book with her inscription - "A different author - I hope you like him!" And I did. Irving's novels were an early glue during our first fifteen years. Since then, EL Doctorow, Barbara Kingsolver, John Updike have all contributed to our bond.
Our dessert? Any regular reader will probably guess - movies. I'm much less discriminating in my choice of desserts - almost anything appeals to me. My wife? Most things British work for her; she steers clear of the gruesome stuff; and she tolerates my indiscriminate sweet tooth, bless her heart.

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