Monday, December 02, 2013

Sharing a heart with Ann Patchett

Over the weekend, I sat in bed and finished Ann Patchett's newest book, This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage. And then I cried. And cried and cried.

This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage is a collection of her nonfiction work that I zipped through in just a few days.

I was stupid and took for granted all of the excerpts that gripped my heart. I should have written them down. My punishment for my stupidity is not punishment: one day I will have to read it again.

What I love about Ann Patchett, other than her writing, is her capacity to love ferociously. I envy Patchett's ability to write about her ferocious love in such a way that the reader can grasp what it means to love as hard as she loves. You can feel how big her heart is. And maybe recognize your own big heart in the description of hers.

She wrote an exquisite memoir (Truth & Beauty: a Friendship, which also made me sob my face off) about a deep friendship she shared. This friendship is touched upon again in This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage. She writes a piece about the years she spent devoted to her grandmother's care. The book closes with a piece about a nun who was her schoolteacher and, later in life, becomes a treasured friend.

The way she writes about these relationships is so familiar to me that it feels like she's taken up residence in my own heart. I don't have the capacity to write as she does, but I think that I love in much the same way. It's overwhelming. It's all encompassing. It cannot be halfway.

I finished that last essay and I cried and I cried and I cursed this trait, this stupid heart that insists on being all in.

It is my best trait. It is my worst trait.

It's why joining Match isn't as easy as filling out a questionnaire and picking out a few cute pictures and plugging in my credit card number.

I'm not saying that it isn't a fault.

But I'm saying that it's me.

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