Monday, April 11, 2011
Falling in Love
In the months since Christmas I have wandered the tunnels underneath Washington D.C. with Dan Brown in The Lost Symbol (a disappointment, I must confess) and followed the Count of Monte Cristo along his path of revenge and redemption (much more satisfying). I found Elizabeth Von Arnin's The Enchanted April simply delicious and Ruth Riechl's autobiography (Tender at the Bone) surprisingly intriguing. David Baldacci kept me turning pages, as he always does, and I sauntered through an unusual juxtaposition of Mark Twain's social commentary and Elizabeth Gilbert's introspective Eat, Pray, Love.
Then, in a nod to the literary studies of my college days, I opened F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise. The other authors gave me much to entertain and even to ponder, but I feast on Fitzgerald as if savoring my first truly satisfying meal after days of snacking on crackers and cheese. I read with a journal at my side and find myself forming essays in my head comparing the sentimental to the romantic or analyzing the development of Amory's character through the mirror of his relationships.
I promise to spare you the bulk of the literary analysis. Suffice it to say that, for me, literature fills an essential block in the food pyramid. "I have to have a soul," says Fitzgerald's Amory. "I can't be rational--and I won't be molecular." While I have my rational moments, now and again, I also have to have a soul. And that soul needs a steady diet of literature, nature, the full spectrum of emotions, a healthy dose of the spiritual, and moments of peace to write and reflect and pull it all together.