Love, sex and anger

My husband reading my blog. I don’t get it either.

Content Warning: My husband doesn’t ask much of me, but he is rather insistent I write this daily blog. He has been absurdly supportive of my writing habit since day one. I do not wholly understand this as I have not always been supportive of his acting habit. Our marriage is sometimes one-sided. If you are uncomfortable with that, I suggest you stop reading.

This morning I was reading The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green. In the chapter “Bonneville Salt Flats” the author writes about when he and his wife’s gazes meet and entwine as they look at a third thing.

This “meet and entwine” concept is something Green learned about from Donald Hall who wrote about his late wife.

“We did not spend our days gazing into each other’s eyes. We did that gazing when we made love or when one of us was in trouble, but most of the time our gazes met and entwined as they looked at a third thing.”

-Donald Hall

First of all…made love? Keep that to yourself.

Moving on: Hall wrote about the “third thing” first, then Green. My turn.

If I’m understanding Green and Hall correctly, a third thing can be a piece of art, a book, a concert, a play, a child, a mountain or whatever. It’s something that you look at with wonder, then notice your partner looking at it with wonder and then you gaze at each other with wonder. It’s called ROMANCE.

All this gazing and wondering pisses me off. Shared moments. Sidelong glances. Eye contact. Knock it off, people! Or at least stop writing about it.

What if we pushed each other a little more to be independent? What if we didn’t need to discuss and critique and “get each other?”

I want to bring back looking at your partner and thinking any (or all) of the following:





Now these are the moments that make a marriage. My marriage anyway. These are the moments that shake faith, erode trust and create the grit necessary to pack in decades of monogamy. These are the moments that hold secrecy, shame and fear. That’s my kind of adventure!

The alternative:

Symbol by Alexander Liberman stands nearly 50 feet tall on the bike path in Rockford.

Jesse and I go for a nice walk. Jesse looks at Symbol. Then I look at Symbol. Then we look at each other with a love and appreciation of Symbol, Rockford and each other.

No! No, no, no, no, no.

We fight. We yell. We undermine. We hate. We judge. All within one simple, sunny day! And you know what? It’s fine. It’s a part of marriage. Ours, at least.

Thanks for reading. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make love to Jesse. -Connie

P.S. This blog is an example of what you shouldn’t write about: your marriage, your sex life and your anger. It could scare people!

Symbol’s undercarriage.

What’s in a signature?

Yesterday I went to the library. I picked out two books for myself: The Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead and The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green.

I noticed on the latter’s cover it had a little round “sticker” on it that said “Signed Edition” and, sure enough, when I cracked it open, Green’s autograph was right there. And it was in green!

I’d never run across a signed book in any library! At bookstores, sure, but never a library. I thought it must be a mistake. I accidentally returned my own book to the library once. Maybe someone else had done the same? But then I noticed he left an “explainer” on the purple page opposite his signature.

“I signed with some kind of Sharpie while sitting on the edge of the couch in my basement,” Green wrote. “This sheet of paper was then bound into your copy…”

Oh! So that’s how they do it.

He said he hopes his readers experience the same joy he feels whenever he comes across a signed book.

That’s nice.

I always thought authors signed their fully intact books. I had no idea they could just sign a large stack of pages, similar to how famous actors autograph their headshots. Green’s way is much more efficient than what I had imagined and I must say it’s smart marketing. When I saw “Signed Edition” on the book, at the library, I immediately grabbed the book.

I like Green’s writing but I’m not sure it was joy I felt when I saw his signature. In fact, his autograph and explainer triggered that nagging feeling I get when I’ve been manipulated. Of course, there are worse forms of manipulation than being nerdily coerced into checking out a library book. And I am hopeful that I will love his essays so much that I don’t mind. We shall see.

I do want to say that I know the “moment” Green is wishing for his readers and I’ve had one that I doubt will ever be topped.

Last year, my son Angelo (then 11 years old) had a doctor appointment. On his way out, the nurse said something like, “Help yourself to a book.” She motioned to a cart filled with used books. He chose a copy of Blubber by Judy Blume. He showed me his treasure when he got home and I was delighted to see he chose a Blume. Then I was shocked to see that Blume herself had signed it! I was in disbelief, but I looked up her signature and it is a perfect match.

My son and I read the book together and the tattered copy is prominently placed in our living room. I look at it nearly every day the same way I look at the Omar Odeh and Alice Klock art we have on our walls — with wonder, introspection and a touch of sadness.

I adored Judy Blume’s writing when I was young and all of my kids have read several of her books. My 15-year-old son Sam just walked by, peeked at what I was writing and said, “Judy Blume? Oh she has some good writing and good characters,” and walked away.

We have a Little Library in our front yard and most of our books go in there when we’re done with them. But not the Blume. I feel selfish about this. I know I should put it back out into the world so someone else can feel the same euphoria that all of us felt when we saw Blume’s autograph. But I can’t let go. What if I have grandchildren someday? One of them might want me to read it aloud to them.

I’m keeping it.

Thanks for reading. -Connie