Sunday, 28 November 2010

Shelving Journals

I'm currently reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stroud. It's a collection of short stories linked together by a woman, Olive Kitteridge, who appears mostly as a minor or extra character in each story. In the "The Piano Player" one of the characters (not Olive) has this to say about love. "You couldn't make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You just had to wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn't go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind."

It is perhaps the most liberating and empowering feeling to realise that you're falling out of love with someone or that you have completely fallen completely out of love with said person.

Of course it's not obvious when you've reached that point. In fact often you don't notice it until a few days have passed and it strikes you that you have ceased to think of someone who previously occupied your daily thoughts. Or, maybe it's simply the way you react to something the object of your affection does, or more precisely the way you don't react, as whatever it was s/he did that would normally affect you no longer moves you in one way or another. Whatever it is that makes you realise those amorous feelings have gone, it is, as I said, quite liberating.

However, I don't really think of these past loves as being smooshed into small bits of tinsel to be hung in the back of my mind. No, instead they are like journals that are filled up with stories of happy times and anguish from when you were in love. All the unrealised hopes, dreams and wishes for that relationship scribed onto the pages by hand until finally there are no pages left because there is simply nothing more to write about.

And then they go on to the shelf and sit. Every now and again you open up those diaries and reminisce, but seldom do new pages get added. The story is over, but no matter what you never...ever...ever throw them away.

Thus, I'd have to say that 2010 was the year of shelving some very thick journals. And yes. It was quite liberating.