Tuesday, June 21, 2011

oh, the humanity

"When you love someone you say their name different. Like it's safe inside your mouth."
I'm reading another Jodi Picoult book right now (full review in a few days) and there's a part of me that, though I find her books utterly un-put-downable - feels somewhat manipulated when I read lines like that and they instantly evoke tears and regret and an ache in me.  

I love - fully, mostly freely, sometimes ferociously, and always imperfectly. And, because feelings do not come in just one crayon, I sometimes rage fully, freely and ferociously. Or fear in the same degrees. I'm prone to jealousy and insecurity. I have a laugh that people comment on - it's one of my best features. But still, I love. 

So when I read and - for who knows what reason - internalise a line like that. When it reads as a punch in the gut - an indictment - instead of as just a line in an overly sentimental novel, I also feel resentment. Low grade. Fleeting. But resentment none the less. 

No, I am not a character in a novel. I'm a real live person who sometimes lets my own petty concerns get in between me and the people I love. And if I've learned anything this Spring it's that my humanity - our humanity - is not just okay, it's necessary if we are going to take care of ourselves and each other. 

That Picoult evokes such a strong response with fairly simple writing impresses me, but that doesn't keep me from feeling slightly manipulated. And maybe that human response is as okay as all the rest of them. 

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