Maine was trying to teach me something, but I was a slow learner. I thought I’d gone to Maine to face my demons and turn them into art, but it turned out that I couldn’t face them, and not only that I couldn’t even find them. I was trying to write about what I knew, which in itself probably wasn’t a bad idea, but I was mistaken about what that was. I thought that what I knew most about was myself, but I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t know the first thing about myself, and Maine wasn’t going to teach me. You don’t learn about yourself by being alone, you learn about yourself from other people.
I lived like that for two more months before I called it quits; I lasted six months in all. Afterward I told people I left because I ran out of money, which was objectively true, but it wasn’t the real truth. The real truth was that I left because I was sick of being cold and lonely and a lousy writer. I had finally reached the tipping point where the misery of living alone in Maine outweighed the misery of having to admit to myself that it wasn’t working, that I did need other human beings, and that I wasn’t a genius after all. I would have admitted anything as long as I didn’t have to live in Maine anymore.
What I hadn’t figured out yet was that it’s OK not to be a genius, whatever that is, if there even is such a thing. Since then I’ve learned that the creative life may or may not be the apex of human civilization, but either way it’s not what I thought it was. It doesn’t make you special and sparkly. You don’t have to walk alone. You can work in an office — I’ve worked in offices for the past 15 years and written five novels while doing it. The creative life is forgiving: You can betray it all you want, again and again, and no matter how many times you do, it will always take you back.
— Lev Grossman; How Not to Write Your First Novel
She was born an ocean, all calm philosophy and turbulent contention. He was born a dormant volcano, tall, majestic and strong, with fire stewing in his core, never released and never changing. Tectonic plates shifted, time wore and brought them together, and her waves lapped against his secure exterior, attempting to wear down the battlements and coax the core.
This is how mythology is born, isn’t it? Finding in our own stories of triumph and loss, of heartsick sorrow and joy, connections to the terrifyingly elating splendor of the natural world around us. Everyone has metaphors. They may change their whole lives through, or they may be the same with only subtle changes over the course of their lives.
What do I need?
That’s such a broad & loaded question.
I’ve always had a sense of myself. This inner intuition has guided me even when the path has been murky or otherwise risky.
Let’s be honest — getting engaged at 19 and married at 20 was a risk. A big one. But I took it in full recognition of that risk and in full knowledge that both my needs & Jean-Guy’s would change with the years. I made sure our vows reflected that, and our ceremony music, too. Jean-Guy and I had countless conversations about being realistic & humble in our expectations for each other and our marriage.
I have always known my needs & dreams to be malleable and tried to prepare him as much as I could, all the while knowing that the man does not make much progress with hypotheticals.
And here we are — my needs are evolving. He is still and always will be a central one, but the landscape is shifting, & I’m struggling in explaining exactly how because I’m still trying to pinpoint it myself.