What a splendid book. The perfect blend of photography and the obscure meaning behind words and pictures. This passage particularly stood out for me.
On this day, you read something that moved you and made you realise there were no more fears to fear. No tears to cry. No head to hang in shame. That every time you thought you’d offended someone, it was all just in your head and really, they love you with all their heart and nothing will ever change that. That everyone and everything lives on inside you. That that doesn’t make any of it any less real.
That soft touches will change you and stay with you longer than hard ones.
That being alone means you’re free. That old lovers miss you and new lovers want you and the one you’re with is the one you’re meant to be with. That the tingles running down your arms are angel feathers and they whisper in your ear, constantly, if you choose to hear them. That everything you want to happen, will happen, if you decide you want it enough. That every time you think a sad thought, you can think a happy one instead.
That you control that completely.
That the people who make you laugh are more beautiful than beautiful people. That you laugh more than you cry. That crying is good for you. That the people you hate wish you would stop and you do too.
That your friends are reflections of the best parts of you. That you are more than the sum total of the things you know and how you react to them. That dancing is sometimes more important than listening to the music.
That the most embarrassing, awkward moments of your life are only remembered by you and no one else. That no one judges you when you walk into a room and all they really want to know, is if you’re judging them. That what you make and what you do with your time is more important than you’ll ever fathom and should be treated as such. That the difference between a job and art is passion. That neither defines who you are. That talking to strangers is how you make friends.
That bad days end but a smile can go around the world. That life contradicts itself, constantly. That that’s why it’s worth living.
That the difference between pain and love is time. That love is only as real as you want it to be. That if you feel good, you look good but it doesn’t always work the other way around.
That the sun will rise each day and it’s up to you each day if you match it. That nothing matters up until this point. That what you decide now, in this moment, will change the future. Forever. That rain is beautiful.
And so are you.
– I Wrote This For You by Iain S. Thomas (The Day You Read This, Page 486)
“I NEED YOU TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING. I WROTE THIS FOR YOU. I WROTE THIS FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU. EVERYONE ELSE WHO READS IT, DOESN’T GET IT. THEY MAY THINK THEY GET IT, BUT THEY DON’T. THIS IS THE SIGN YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR. YOU WERE MEANT TO READ THESE WORDS.”
These words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convey. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
One of the quickest reads I’ve ever come across. David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary is a very poignant, unusual and refreshing love story told in a sort of epistolary format with the usage of dictionary words. Like I’ve already mentioned in my previous book review I enjoy books that don’t stick to normal timelines and always go back and forth. This book is a collection of memories of a lover and how every dictionary word has a unique meaning for him. It’s a reflection of a relationship gone awry due to infidelity, among other things. You realize that pretty early on in the book. However, the other memories that the narrator has are so touching it conjures up a very heart wrenching love story of two people who were way too right for each other but ultimately couldn’t last.
Having met on an online dating website, and being smitten right from the first date, the couple had my thumb of approval.
“I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” you said.
“Neither do I,” I assured you.
Later it turned out we had both met people online before, and we had both slept with people on first dates before, and we had both found ourselves falling too fast before. But we comforted ourselves with what we really meant to say, which was: “I don’t normally feel this good about what I’m doing.”
Measure the hope of that moment, that feeling.
Everything else will be measured against it.
The book rummages back and forth in the memories of the first date, family funerals, possible break ups, mundane arguments, momentary joy and everyday realities. This has got to be one of the most raw and breathtaking young adult fiction books I’ve ever read. You tend to wonder how so much can be said in a sentence or two. I’m someone who loves long and detailed sentences, this was a sharp realization that brevity really is the soul of wit. Being concise doesn’t necessarily imply that you are holding back.
I don’t like it when you use my shampoo, because then your hair smells like me, not you.
Here are a few entries that stayed in my mind long after:
I took it out on the wall.
I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. YOU FUCKER, I LOVE YOU.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together.
It was the way you said, “I have something to tell you.” I could feel the magic drain from the room.
You brought home a typewriter for me.
Levithan has very intricately put across a story with 185 well-defined words. The sheer emotion and lack of it in certain entries has never been done this beautifully before and sums up everything about the young couple’s relationship. I would recommend this book to you if you’re a selective sap like me and/or are in love.
Everyone can do with more of Siken in their life. There’s no one who even comes close to Siken’s style of poetry. Yes, you are my favourite, and your words are everything to me. This one is for me and my Person.
I Had A Dream About You
All the cows were falling out of the sky and landing in the mud.
You were drinking sangria and I was throwing oranges at you,
but it didn’t matter.
I said my arms are very long and your head’s on fire.
I said kiss me here and here and here
And you did.
Then you wanted pasta,
so we trampled out into the tomatoes and rolled around to make the sauce.
You were very beautiful.
We were in the Safeway parking lot. I couldn’t find my cigarettes.
You said Hurry up! but I was worried there would be a holdup
And we would be stuck in a hostage situation, hiding behind
the frozen meats, with nothing to smoke for hours.
You said Don’t be silly,
so I followed you into the store.
We were thumping the melons when I heard somebody say Nobody move!
I leaned over and whispered in your ear I told you so.
There was a show on the television about buried treasure.
You were trying to convince me that we should buy shovels
and go out into the yard
and I was trying to convince you that I was a vampire.
On the way to the hardware store I kept biting your arm
and you said if I really was a vampire I would be biting your neck,
so I started biting your neck
and you said Cut it out!
and you bought me an ice cream, and then we saw the UFO.
These are the dreams we should be having. I shouldn’t have to
clean them up like this.
You were lying in the middle of the empty highway.
The sky was red and the sand was red and you were wearing a brown coat.
There were flecks of foam in the corners of your mouth.
The birds were watching you.
Your eyes were closed and you were listening to the road and I could
hear your breathing, I could hear your heart beating.
I carried you to the car and drove you home but you
weren’t making any sense
I took a shower and tried to catch my breath.
You were lying on top of the bedspread
in boxer shorts, watching cartoons and laughing but not making any sound.
Your skin looked blue in the television light.
Your teeth looked yellow.
Still wet, I lay down next to you. Your arms, your legs, your naked chest,
your ribs delineated like a junkyard dogs.
There’s nowhere to go, I thought. There’s nowhere to go.
You were sitting in a bathtub at the hospital and you were crying.
You said it hurt.
I mean the buildings that were not the hospital.
I shouldn’t have mentioned the hospital.
I don’t think I can take this much longer.
In the dream I don’t tell anyone, you put your head in my lap.
Let’s say you’re driving down the road with your eyes closed
but my eyes are also closed.
You’re by the side of the road.
You’re by the side of the road and you’re doing all the talking
while I stare at my shoes.
They’re nice shoes, brown and comfortable, and I like your voice.
In the dream I don’t tell anyone, I’m afraid to wake you up.
In these dreams it’s always you:
The boy in the sweatshirt,
The boy on the bridge, the boy who always keeps me
from jumping off the bridge.
Oh, the things we invent when we are scared
and want to be rescued.
Your jeep. Your teeth. The coffee that you bought me.
The sandwich cut in half on the plate.
I woke up and ate ice cream in the dark,
hunched over on the wooden chair in the kitchen,
listening to the rain.
I borrowed your shoes and didn’t put them away.
You were crying and eating rice.
The surface of the water was still and bright.
Your feet were burning so I put my hands on them, but my hands
were burning too.
You had a bottle of pills but I wouldn’t let you swallow them.
You said Will you love me even more when Im dead?
And I said No, and I threw the pills on the sand.
Look at them, you said. They look like emeralds.
I put you in a cage with the ocelots. I was trying to fatten you up
with sausages and bacon.
Somehow you escaped and climbed up the branches of a pear tree.
I chopped it down but there was nobody in it.
I went to the riverbed to wait for you to show up.
You didn’t show up.
I kept waiting.
Having a tumblr isn’t so bad. Sometimes you’ll read something as wonderful as this and you’ll not be able to stop yourself from sharing it with everyone.
“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 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.”