And This Is When I Ask Why

Now and then I ask myself the reasons of the things I do. I started this blog with a dream of adventure and that dream vanished from the bottom of the sea. I don’t regret it because I’ll always have many other dreams to keep me focused and entertained. Since my initial purpose is no longer there, one of the questions I ask myself frequently is why I keep writing Tales From the Sea. The answer I come up with is always along the lines: this is a sort of diary and also a place where I’ve been writing no matter what, from poetry to culinary recipes.

I am not sure if I can call TFTS a blog, since a truly blogger seems to post a lot more often than once a week. As for other possible ingredients, sometimes I miss them but most of the time I don’t because my life is too busy to be the fast and attentive blogger in the picture.

There’s also the language question. Colloquial English, very much in demand when commenting or replying, is a serious problem for someone who doesn’t speak that language on a daily basis. Still, I keep writing the best way I can for very simple reasons: 1) Learning more. 2) Not forgetting what I’ve learned so far. 3) A small part of my very small family talks English and I hope to be able to talk with them. 4) The English blogging universe is far more important in terms of quantity and quality than any other out there.

Even though I could present a few more explanations, I believe the above four are more than enough. I would never regard someone who speaks English (or any other language) as superior or inferior only because of that. Having taught Portuguese as a second language, I am very comprehensive towards mistakes derived from structural interferences of different languages. Adding to those natural difficulties, I have always the question of time keeping me away from being the perfect blogger.

When I look back, there is very little that I haven’t do, from editing a newspaper to writing bestsellers to local and international standards. Up to now I’ve been telling the stories of others but I know I can write my own stuff. I would never regard myself as superior just because I sold millions of copies more than most writers and I consider any writer who thinks so as someone pretentious.

Having said all that, I am not very good at following the rules. Part is temperamental and part is educational. You know, some good schools out there teach not to follow the rules. So guess what? Even though I am frequently penalized because of that, following the rules is not my primal concern in terms of blogging.

I write this blog because I have dreams and those dreams correspond to quests I undertake. Be it in Portuguese or English, writing blogs, books or poetry is one of them. Some of my attempts fail and some are satisfactory completed.

I don’t believe in love and I don’t regret the way I feel. I have never seen or heard of someone in love long enough for me to believe in it. I am married with someone who doesn’t believe in love either. For him, marriage is a contract to be respected. It is very liberating for me, as a writer, to be in such position because there is nothing more interesting and fulfilling than faking and exploring feelings without the bondages of those same feelings.

Maybe because I am not a believer, I always wanted to describe love. I searched and searched for the perfect word capable of saying what love is and, probably, at the same time, proving that love is redundant as a word and as a feeling.

We like things and people at different degrees and that should be enough. Love is a special form of liking. What makes it special then? Intensity? Quality? I thought I had discovered the meaning of love in admiration and up to recently I lived happy with my simple equation.

I love = I admire.
I admire = I love.

And even though I don’t believe in love, at least the kind of love I would like very much to believe, I already suspected my conclusion was too simplistic. Love (un homme et une femme kind of love) is hard to describe, not because it’s magical but because it’s instable like people are. It is different from one case to the other, just like people are different from one another.

That is when I read one of those quotes circulating on the internet. It said: “When you love someone for his appearance, it is not love but attraction. When you love someone for his intelligence, it is not love but admiration. When you love someone for money, it is not love but profit. When you love someone without knowing why, that is love.”

That explains a lot about what love is and the way we love. Some people love more with their eyes and some love more with their hearts. I love with my mind, that part of the mind that would rather care about inner qualities than money. As it is more than evident, what I love (like) more in someone is his intelligence and that explains my previous conclusion. I wasn’t explaining what love is but the way I love. The verb, not the essence of the word.

According to the above quote, love is pure insanity. Loving someone without knowing why is nothing but that. My take on love is precisely the opposite: I love someone if I know him well and still love him. The why is not accessory or absent. The why is essential. No wonder love for me is rare and precious and impossible. Feeling the opposite. Living outside the rules. By definition love is “not knowing”. For me, love is “knowing”.

Love doesn’t conquer all. Love is susceptible to knowledge. “Love is blind” is only true in the sense that you have to be blind to love. In this context, blindness is ignorance (insanity). You love because, for a short or long period of time, you choose to ignore this or that aspect. In the end, reason (knowledge) always wins. Love is a lost battle where the contenders are not you and your loved one, but insanity and reason, and once the reason wins (it always wins) love is no longer there. At least most of the time it is not there because of the gap between reality and your (insane) expectations.

I am happy with the conclusions I reached. I am not the first and only one. In good company and for the time being, I feel confident to have found my non-believer niche.

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9 thoughts on “And This Is When I Ask Why

  1. Many notions lie within this post; first, I think your English is very good. I bemoan my ignorance of only speaking one language, especially where I live. As for blogging, the timing of posts is an arbitrary thing. I go through jags when I have plenty to say. Right now, I’m in a lull. And that is perfectly fine. Writing is like that, be it for blog posts, poems, novels. The writing emerges as it does.

    I find your views on love intriguing; I didn’t believe in love until I met my husband, and still that took years of cohabitation to feel secure when he said he loved me. I knew I loved him, for I couldn’t otherwise describe the emotions he wrung out of my soul, at times sensations I didn’t wish to own. Yet there they were, spilled out, no way to shove them back inside. Love is folly, for to me it’s one of the most elusive but solid facets of my humanity. I cannot help, and feel rather helpless about it, loving my spouse, our children, my family, even when my children and family seem a little clueless. Thank God my husband always knows me, more often than I know myself.

    Which brings me to a last notions; my faith is paramount, yet it wavers, which I have come to accept is another part of being a fallible human groping around in attempting to do the best I can. Faith is probably the ultimate folly, what is there to see, be assured of, except what beats in my heart, what I know is real, but cannot prove, just like love. As I take love on faith, I take faith on faith as well, and if I’m wrong, well, I’ll die thinking I was believing in something that to me means love. Faiths aren’t always geared toward love, which is distressing, but true. Too many moments when I wanted to assume the worst, the worst has not occurred. As long as that remains, I will wear my smile, mostly in bemusement. I will keep walking that line between insanity and reason, writing a little something about each along the way.

    1. You are very nice. I keep doing silly mistakes. One of my comments about your short story is a good example of that. Translated to Portuguese, “depend on” is “depender de” and the current translation for the proposition “de” is “of”. If I am somehow distracted I’ll be writing, for sure, something that must sound terribly to your ears: if it depends of me… It’s my Portuguese working when it should be having a break.

      I have to say that I identify a lot with what you write because I ask myself a lot of questions around being a writer. I don’t have doubts that I can write about any subject (my journalistic background obliges), but I wonder if ghostwriting counts. I just don’t understand how I could tackle two biographical books with relative ease and now have so many difficulties with my own stories. One of those books is about a young war pilot who fled the colonial army and ended up having a major role in the independence of this country. This is a best seller for local standards, already in its 5th edition. The second book is about a barefoot boy selling peanuts on the streets of a northern town. Many years later he became one of Mandela’s closest friends. If authorized, this book is supposed to be huge since it shows a part of Mandela’s life never told. So you see, those books are part of me but at the same time they are not mine.

      Sometimes I write about love. We all have personal experiences explaining the way we feel and see things. Usually, my statements refuting love correspond to methodical doubts. If someone never loved or was loved, why should he/she believe in love? Suppose you can only love once and the person you love is not right. Love becomes an empty act and that’s how you see love. A cul-de-sac. Not forgetting all those who have real problems in giving or accepting love, for option or some sort of deficiency. This is just to give you an idea of the thoughts I entertain. The arguments pro-love are powerful but for some people love is not there.

      1. A Belgian friend of mine always notes possession by saying ‘Frank his wife’ instead of ‘Frank’s wife’. I know a tiny bit of Spanish; I can still see my high school Spanish teacher wagging her finger at me when I dropped the class. She knew I’d be regretting that act. 🙂

        A friend of mine writes wonderful non-fiction, but is just starting to explore fiction, and they are very different types of writing. I can’t analyze to save my life, so I stick to what I know. I do understand how you can feel attached to a book that you were a part of; I wonder how or if independent publishing is changing that. I have critique partners, but I think I tend to go my own way more than if a ‘professional’ editor was assisting.

        I don’t know if I could feel so strongly for another person if my husband was gone. Yet, I would hope that my heart wouldn’t be left adrift, for the connection we share fulfills me. One of the reasons I often write about love is trying to unravel its mystery, which is silly, as that’s like trying to explain other vast conundrums, which sometimes love certainly is. And sometimes it isn’t present, or it disappears. I was reading about the film Tender Mercies this morning, and the main character tells his wife he doesn’t trust happiness. That made me think about your post; he could have easily said he didn’t trust love.

        One of my pleasures of writing and reading are creeping toward some further comprehension of whatever subject catches my attention. Thank you for giving me yet more thoughts to ponder!

      2. It truly rattled me for a bit; I try to be optimistic about human nature, but it’s difficult when something small can be perverted. Definitely few smiles when it comes to this.

  2. It’s interesting that some languages have many different words for love. In English, it’s pretty limited. But then I guess a word can’t really describe it either. People have written books trying to describe love and will go on trying to describe it and maybe we still haven’t fully figured it out yet. It’s true that it is elusive. It shouldn’t be as limited as it is. Probably the only thing I do know about love is that the world needs more of it.

    I’ve felt the same way about blogging, and also only post once a week. There just isn’t time to do more than that and visit other sites. I like finding others that only post once a week because it’s easier to follow them. 🙂 The great thing about blogging has been getting to know different people from all over the world, but it does take up a lot of time.

    1. I like your perspective about the world needing more love. Maybe that’s my problem. You enlarge the word and I do precisely the opposite. I am so restrictive I end up doubting of its existence. As for blogging, I agree. Time is crucial. 🙂

      1. I know what you mean though. There are so many different kinds of love that it gets confusing. 🙂 I think the relationship kind of love can be restrictive, so it’s nice to try to widen that somehow even though we’re conditioned to believe that a relationship is all we should need. I just don’t believe that’s true and when we try to make that one person into everything we need, that’s when the insanity part can come into it.

      2. Yes, expansive people are better at sublimating or transferring feelings. The new Pope is a good example of that. If I heard well, he decided to be a priest because he couldn’t marry the only woman he loved. 🙂

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