Oh how I wish I could write like Barbara Kingsolver. All I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember is to be able to write in a way that elicits emotions from people. Sometimes emotions they don’t even know they have. To write something with a kernel of profound truth that people can relate to and say, “that’s it…that’s just how that feels”.
In Kingsolver’s “Pigs in Heaven” her first six paragraphs describe exactly how if feels to be in a relationship after a certain age. Those sentences resonate with everything I’ve been feeling of late. As I get older my world is becoming smaller and smaller, my desire for things less and less, and my desire for intimate conversation greater and greater, while at exactly the same moment in time the average man seems to have used up his lifetime allotment of words.
The middle aged man spending his days in his easy chair couldn’t have become a cliche unless there was some truth in it. Kingsolver’s descripton, “his Naugahyde recliner confronts her, smug as a catcher’s mitt, with a long, deep impression of Harland running down it’s center” describes it better than I’ve ever heard or read it described. I’ve seen that same impression in more men’s chairs than I’d care to admit.
The easy chair has always made me sad. Not because it eludes to TV watching. I can be the Queen of Netflix marathons myself. I thinks it’s the singleness of the chair. Where I would prefer to snuggle up and share my experience with someone (one of my fondest memories is spending an entire day with my God daughter on the sofa watching episode after episode of “Cake Boss” together until someone had to come and force us to shut it off) the easy chair sits alone and seems to say “there’s no room for anyone but me here…leave me alone”.
I have a single, male friend whose living room is set up with the requisite enormous flat screen TV with his comfortable easy chair right smack dab in the center of the room and a sofa pushed back against one wall. Even when told he doesn’t see that this set up says to all who enter, “it’s all about my comfort…you sit over there against the wall and don’t bother me.”
I am a middle-aged woman, and one on the down hill side of that bell curve. I am beginning to understand that the chances of meeting a man my age who has a serious desire for emotional and intellectual intimacy is slightly less than the chance of me ever fitting into my original size 6 wedding dress again. Even if the intimacy were to be there to couple lifestyles at such an age would likely be as uncomfortable of a fit as that dress.
I guess the moral of this story is that I will now have plenty of time to devote to improving my writing skills.