Book Review: To Love What Is by Alix Kates Shulman
This is a gem of a book. A ruby amongst a sea of garnets.
This memoir gave me hope, gratitude, reassurance and most of all... validation.
"Unthreatened by my feminism, in fact turned on by it, he asked for a copy of my syllabus...and week by week he eagerly read my class assignments: Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marilynne Robinson, Alice Walker, Alice Munro. He was my most ardent student. Night after night on the telephone our connection tightened as we pursued the meanings of love, sex, money, equality, and now literature too."
"Can this injury have transformed his very self, stricken deep into his identity? Or revealed a buried self I never knew?"
"Had Scott not been the sort of man who makes things happen, we might have remained for each other simply romantic memories of idealized youth. Instead, two weeks before 1984 was set to launch, he made the call that changed our destinies."
"For a moment I envy our friends their engagement with the world. But then I recall myself: my world is elsewhere now."
"If this is my burden, there's also a secret reprieve: every impulsive, angry, cruel, or foolish thing I say or do, he'll immediately, mercifully forget."
" 'Amor fati,' he said, is 'not merely to endure necessity, still less to deny it...but to love it.' "
I want to remember this quote as long as I live:
"When I confess to him why I'm crying, he reaches out an arm to comfort me, exactly as he always has. That lifelong atheist,who has always scoffed at the very mention of an afterlife and couldn't care less about what happens to his remains, now pulls out all the stops to console me: 'Don't worry, dearest, I won't leave you. I'll pack your bags and take you with me to heaven. What color wings would you like? Blue wings, white wings, chartreuse wings? Any color you want, and I'll make sure they fit correctly. I've already put some feelers for trumpets, seven, eight, nine, ten trumpets to welcome you when you arrive. I'll offer you my arm and escort you around, show you all the sights. With you on my arm they won't be able to throw me out. They'll say, 'Look at that beautiful woman,' and let us stay.'"