January 25, 2000.
Response Paper: THE LOVER
A girl, really young, impressively boyish and strangely thrown in the midst of strange relationships. Forced to make use of her sexuality earlier than she or her mother had thought necessary. And not even forced, finding that as the only way to escape the reality. The book starts with her remembering things back. But that remembering instead of polishing of details blurred at the moment of occurrence as would be expected does in fact mix reality and unreal assumptions together. It’s almost scary to find out how a person enjoys thinking back realities and accepting the fact that they were not only sad they were as sad as they felt at first and as unreal as they felt at first.
It is very hard to enjoy things at times, even the most sublime things like love. So the little girl finds herself entangled with believing she was stealing things from death in order to enjoy them. Sometimes you find yourself looking from over you at the things you do and finding them boring. At these precise times there is not a single slice of rationality left in the brain and no matter how much you try to say all right this should be enjoyable you still can’t feel the drag of that exact thing.
On the other side once you let yourself go and put together the dream and the passion as well as the abhorrence for those moments when everything is boring and out of “poise” you can find out that love is possible and also a convenience worth running after. Love as a commodity. The little girl in the book does that. She knows money is a commodity she should be running after, she knows that it’s expected from her to be running after money so she can secure herself and the family. So, she does that. Meanwhile she is also running after her own commodity, her lover, the one she is not even expected to cry after leaving behind. And she runs after the tender Helene L, because she finds her disturbing, too beautiful and very much different from herself. She wants to know what Helene would feel, she wants to know what would come up if another person without the implanted need to seek rational fulfillment of needs like herself would do. Helene was her escape. Being plain and naïve she would be able to enjoy everything there was and so would the girl.
They call her the slut, and she doesn’t care. She is performing an obligation. She is doing what her mother expects her to do. She is taking them away to France. A small dream which means a lot to her mother like the cousins she visits and to which she shows pictures of her kids. A blood tie from which her mom can not break free like a small whim in her own memory.
Memories, they are always murkier when you think into them as a continuum of details. They can only make sense as a continuum of excuses to things said, occurred or assumed. It’s like trying to watch the sky between the branches and the shadows on the water and the reflections in car windows. The woman (ex-girl with a fedora hat) is trying to understand what she said, what she did, why she hated her brother and why she loved her mother with the kind of strange possessive love that made her want to get away from her.
When trying to understand what people say one tries to listen closely to what they're leaving out. But that’s not necessary here, when listening to herself and while writing about a life un-enjoyed but still lived she is listening to the pieces of reflection she left out while she was busy doing “her job” “fulfilling her urge”. She is giving heed to her compulsion to suppress feelings and thoughts that are bubbling up in her.