from the love letters of Zelda Fitzgerald, Part IV
— Since you are slowly dissolving into a mythical figure over the long period of years that have elapsed since two weeks ago, I will tell you about myself: I am lonesome… Life is difficult. There are so many problems. 1. The problem of how to stay here and 2. the problem of how to get out.
— Pavements crackle under the crystalline mornings. Every day I expect the front page of the papers to burst into flames…
— I trust that life will not continue forever in the heaping of ashes.
— You were a young lieutenant and I was a fragrant phantom, wasn’t I? And it was a radiant night, a night of soft conspiracy and the trees agreed that it was all going to be for the best. Remember the faded gray romance.
— A suitcase full of happiness and a hat-box of souvenirs.
— Gusts of bottled breezes.
— Here are some titles [for her stories] — Maybe you can paste them on the unidentifiable bottles in the medicine cabinet if they don’t seem to apply. 1. Even Tenor. 2. Rainy Sunday. 3. How It Was. 4. Ways It Was.
— Pale blue crowds watched the rhododendron parade today. Under an impervious Italianate sky the blaring of the bands poured forth from the hills.
— And the afternoon sun imbedding itself in a silver tea-pot.
— The sense of sadness and of finality in leaving a place is a good emotion; I love that the story can’t be changed again and one more place is haunted — old sorrows and a half-forgotten happiness are stored where they can be recaptured. *
— Snow domesticates horizons; the world is a fine white boudoir; the world is cared-for and expensive. I hope always that you’ll show up in it soon.
— One could perform experiments in how to live.
— She wore white gardenias… and white hopes.
— The winter has grown homesick for something else, somewhere else — and seems as anxious to get away as everybody else is.
— When you leave I always look about me and catalogue your visits.
— I think the Elements resent us, and I think that They Themselves are none too well-disciplined. Any old thing ought to have better sense than to freeze people.
— The eternal hope on which life is hung.
— Woods sweet with violets and the secrets of 1900.
— Meantime: I’m painting lampshades, instead of souls; just for a little while, and meantime I play the radio and moon about considerably and dream of Utopias where it’s always July the 24th 1935. That’s my chosen happiest equipment: to be 35, in the middle of summer forever.
— What is there to say? You know how much I have loved you.
* snowglobe syndrome.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.