Long marriage

“What one wants in the person one lives with is that they should keep one at one’s best,” says Clarissa Dalloway in The Voyage Out (see yesterday’s post–I really am having trouble getting places as I listen!). As Shakespeare does with Polonius, Virginia gives us a foolish character who occasionally says something intriguing. Clarissa’s is a very mixed portrait in this book, published 10 years before Mrs. Dalloway.

But this comment elucidates something that happens in a good long relationship of any kind–the other helps you to see and sometimes overcome your persistent flaws, doesn’t let you get away with your particular laziness or ignorance or… fill in your specific blanks, but does it while still loving you, still supporting what is the best in you.

And as I was beginning to write this last night, Larry walked in and read me an example of an exemplary sentence, from Thinking, Fast and Slow:

“The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.”

What a succinct way to debunk the myth of predictability, and how easy it is to make up a story that fits the past! How uncomfortable the present can be when you don’t know how it “comes out.” And how pleasing that Larry chose to add an Exemplary Sentence. Here he is in the joke photo from The Creakers’ web page.  That Evan Almdale has a lot of fun with Photoshop! And I have a lot of fun with Larry! Here’s a poem on this subject.


How did I snare him?
my poetry?
my willingness
to learn to cook?
something primal —
my heartbeat
my smell.
He saw thru
everything I tried.
The fact of me
& not the artifice
he stuck to.
fly feet
.         fly paper.


Meryl Natchez



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