the life of richie

AUTISM FOR TWO

Posted in is by Rich on September 23, 2009

Jane Austen notes that “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. […] It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.” So Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins. It is always the most uncomfortable though realistic moment in the novel: Charlotte Lucas, with no romantic ambition for intimacy or anything more, marrying the unctuous Mr. Collins.

This is the end of the wedding season for Rich; a brief respite until the winter. Now he is back to school and back to the socialistical community of the two-year college. He attends a meeting of the Fine Arts Club today to recruit students for the literary arts magazine he is co-advising, and here is his happiness; here among the burning, gem-like novitiate of artists who speak of harvest rather than planting. This, the advisor announces, is the theme of the season and of their projects for the festival in November: harvest. It is a lovely word; and, so fall! Rich himself would like to lay scythe to the world, to the dying-dead/moribund world, and prepare the wasteland for winter. Everything ruined in the world; the heavy rains in June ruined Jersey tomatoes, which are just starting to appear on shelves; we had no corn this season; and the cantaloupe was not great. There are seasons of cantaloupe and seasons without, and one learns to accept the seasons without; learn to toss in hungry sleep, dreaming of lush, round melons in distended bellies; belies the optimism we are told is already here, the hope having arrived (didn’t you notice? were you too busy dreaming of cantaloupe?); we are saved, we are told; they have saved us. (But these, these are not our melons; not Jersey melons. Don’t fuck with us. Don’t give us a bank and call it a cantaloupe.)

In Harper’s, an anonymous author, arrested for terrorism, has written the following (Rich harvests it for the blog): “The couple is like the final stage of the great social debacle. It’s the oasis in the middle of the human desert. Under the auspices of ‘intimacy,’* we come to it looking for everything that has so obviously deserted contemporary social relations: warmth, simplicity, truth, a life without theater or spectator. But once the romantic enchantment has passed, ‘intimacy’ strips itself bare: it is itself a social invention, it speaks the language of glamour magazines and psychology; like everything else, it is bolstered with strategies to the point of nausea. There is no more truth here than elsewhere; here, too, lies and the laws of estrangement dominate. And when, by good fortune, one discovers this truth, it demands a sharing that belies the very form of the couple. What allows beings to love each other is also what makes them lovable and ruins the utopia of autism-for-two.”

*Jeanette Winterson: there is something very disgusting about intimacy.

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