Happiness/Grief same time. Beauty that Hasn’t Yet Been Created “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss (June 2009)

Susan's Thursday morning note June 4, 2009 
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Being “happy” and “sad” at the same time.
Creations, Compositions, Paintings that will bring awe in the future…who we will be in the future.

Good morning!  It’s the perfect chill for the coffee to taste even better this morning!  If you could see all of the books partly read in stacks around our living room….little bits here & little bits there…then trying to see what you would like to think about that I liked reading…a challenge that I like to face each week…the hunt for what is worth our time to think about!  One book that I’ve been reading is called The History of Love by Nicole KraussThe title doesn’t immediately fit the book….the book is on an old, lonely eccentric man that left Poland as a teenager escaping the war.  As he ran he left a manuscript of a book he’d been writing, essays on different ideas, with his friend.  The book fluctuates between thoughts of this elderly man, the thoughts of a translator across the world, and the thoughts of a young 14 year old girl named after a character in the older man’s manuscript.  I am fascinated with the different essays that are brought out throughout the book.  Here are two of the paragraphs that I especially liked the ideas of.  The first is a little “strange” but I like strange – makes me sit up & think, “goodness, what did I just read??!?!?”  See if you get the same reaction.

Conversation between two teenagers on the ability to be extremely happy and very sad at the same time:

“The fact that you got a little happier today doesn’t change the fact that you also became a little sadder.  Every day you become a little more of both, which means that right now, at this exact moment, you’re the happiest and the saddest you’ve ever been in your whole life.”  “How do you know?”  “Think about it.  Have you ever been happier than right now, lying here in the grass?”  “I guess not.  No.”  “And have you ever been sadder?” “No.” “It isn’t like that for everyone, you now.  Some people, like your sister, just get happier and happier every day.  And some people, like Beyla Asch, just get sadder and sadder.  And some people, like you, get both.” “What about you?  Are you the happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?”  “Of course I am.”  “Why?”  “Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”

Monday was the anniversary of my dad’s accident.  Maybe I liked that paragraph because of emotions that conflict….Camden in his musical…at his track meet….solving his Rubik’s cubes…me being “happier than I’ve ever been” seeing his happiness….but the happier I feel the sharper the sadness of who is missing in his stands…who he won’t know…happiness/sadness intertwined.  I liked that paragraph.  It reminded me also of the line of a father in The Christmas Box (Richard Paul Evans) when he wanted to stop a moment of his child’s life…he stated, in this I ere…to hold the note is to stop the song.  When he was feeling such intense emotions – he knew they were fleeting, so with the joy of the moment he know that it would end, so the joy was affected by sadness at the same time – watching children grow up, watching aging friends or parents (or selves!)…with joy/sadness intermingled.  Here’s another paragraph later in the book…

What haven’t we created, painted, composed that will bring awe?

Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist.  There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination.  From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written, or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom, or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world.  And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges, and absorbs the impact.

I read that paragraph to Camden right after reading it.  He has at times written notes for a song about our cat…it’s a funny little song that he tries to pluck out on his violin and piano.  He understood the concept and said that he needs to get that music written for his violin teacher – because all she’s ever heard from him she’s heard from others…yet he can compose something that will be a new thrill for her.  I’ve thought about that this week.  I wonder what movie script hasn’t made a piece of paper yet that will catch all of our breath, what musician we will hear play for us that will make us silent with awe…what words will be written in a book that will influence us….and these will only come about if the idea goes the next step – the person with the painting in his/her head…the musician with the tune in his/her head during the night…the writer with the words in his/her head….will we go the next step?  Will we have the nerve to be vulnerable and see if we can bring something new to make someone stop and have their heart surge?  Even if it’s just something for our own children – will we take the time to say what makes them have a new elating moment?  Or, inspiring moment.  Only if we stop.  Think.  Take the time to take the next step.  To show them what they may not have noticed if their business.

And to take it even another step – what will God create?  Who is he going to create to be the beautiful musician?  What sunsets will he design to make our hearts stop for a moment?  What notes will we hear the birds sing?  What flower will we find that we’ve never even known about – that makes us stop…something we couldn’t fathom.  I love thinking about that…the unknown of what I will experience.  Again – it will be interesting to meet all of us in 10 years – after we change…continually change…if we let ourselves.  Listen to music.  Read.  Watch the sky.  Watch the ground.  Find something minute that makes you stand in awe…experience life.  It is so short.  Have a great weekend!!!  Thank you so much for letting me come into your Thursday again!!!  I hope I’m working when you come in the store – use your $10 gift certificate for June…let your kids come play….come sit and find a new book….take the time to find an author that gives you something worth thinking about!  And, if nothing else, come by for cold water or a perfect filler/coffee combination!!  Susan

Latin for this week:
Saepe creat molles aspera spina rosas - Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses. (Ovid)

Works Cited:
Krauss, Nicole.  The History of Love.  2005.  W.W. Norton and Co.,  New York.