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Love That Lasts A Lifetime

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Practically everybody remembers the first time of making love with a spouse. Practically nobody remembers the 373rd. love stories are about falling in love, not staying that way.

One wonders what happens in a marriage that has lasted many years. Is there any excitement about staying in love? Can it remain romantic when you climb into bed with the same person night after night?

“It depends on what you mean by romantic,” says one wife of 15 years. “If you mean that can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other feeling, then no, you don’t have that. It’s actually better than that, because sex is no longer a performance. You can relax and enjoy what’s happening. That’s what makes it romantic to me. I know I’m loved by someone who really knows me. Nobody can beat that.”

Of all the joys of familiarity, one of the most central is security. You learn to trust this person who handles your body and your emotions so intimately. You can let down the barricades and approach the experience with openness.

More than that, there is the security of having a shared history as lovers, a sense of safety about each other. Given the avalanche of sexual information available today, there is formidable pleasure to “get it right.” Husbands and wives have the comfortable knowledge of all the times their love-making has worked – as well as the knowledge that when it has not, nothing important changed in their relationship.

Just Talking. Whereas in the early stages of love the obsessive desire for each other closes out the rest of the world, intimacy between two people who have been married for many years has room to take in all facets of life. It can be exchanging a look over the head of your child or reaching out to take your husband’s hand at the exact moment he reaches for yours.

Some of the most intimate moments in marriage are those spent just talking, at times when the disappointments of the world seem to have stripped away every defence and you are sad.

Toni remembers a day like that. She’d been excited about having a job again, after years at home with two daughters. An opportunity for promotion came up, and Toni was in contention. After a week of suspense, the decision was made. Another woman got the job. “I felt as if somebody had hit me in the stomach,” Toni says.

She called her husband at his office. “He told me to meet him for lunch. We talked and talked – I told him things about myself I never dreamt I’d tell another human being. And he talked about us, and about our girls. If felt as if I’d come ti him a jumble of broken bits and pieces, and he was putting me back together again, building me up with all the chunks of our life together. When I think about that lunch, it feels to me every bit as intimate as we’ve ever been in bed.”

The core of intimacy is a profound knowledge of each other, and that knowledge takes years to develop. For husband and wives who work at staying in touch – who listen to each other, who share what’s going on whether it’s fascinating or not – intimacy becomes a steadily increasing element of the marriage that enhances all other elements. Within the intimacy of marriage, sex becomes the physical expression of the unity of two people.

What frightens many people is the normal fluctuation of passion within the long time-frame of intimacy. When the fresh excitement of a new love begins to mellow into the gentler security of an established relationship, some people panic and try to find the newness again with somebody else. To make marriage work, you have to step forward into the territory of familiarity and discover, beyond novelty, the intimate warmth of making love with the person you know almost as well as yourself.

Faces do wrinkle, bodies do get pudgier, energy levels do recede, and most people do face an increasing number of niggling ailments. A long lasting love accepts all of these less than agreeable facts. It comes to terms with me. What binds the lovers together is not what they look like, but what they are.

If the physical need for each other feels less all-consuming as time goes by, it can still be intensely satisfying. In anything, it can be better, since like most other skills sex improves with practice.

Range of Moods. There is a particular pleasure in making love for couples in the middle phase of their marriage, when the world around them is the most demanding. The whole intricate machinery of jobs and household has to be kept functioning. The days are relentlessly busy, and in the middle of all this making love can be an island of privacy.

“You know the greatest thing about sex for me?” says Judy (married 12 years, two children). “It’s putting the kids to bed, running a warm bath and getting into the tub with my husband. Were relaxed and we can giggle like kids.”

Explains Jack (married nine years, no children), “Sex does a lot for me, but one of the most important things is just release of tension.” Says Abigail (married seven years, three children): “I sometimes feel that making love is the only grown-up thing I do. All the rest of the time, I have to be doing my best to be a good a mother or a good neighbour. In bed with my husband, I can be whatever I want to be – I just leave all the roles in a pile with my nightgown.”

In the delicious privacy shared by a husband and wife, there can be the whole range of moods in love. Sometimes making love can be routine. It can also be funny or chatty or exquisitely intense. In a long marriage, sex can be experienced in all its permutations, because the two people involved are caught up in the business of living, and their moods will reflect that.

Mutual Goal. It isn’t that sexual relationships in long-term marriages present no problems. A study of couples in successful marriages, published in 1978 by researchers at Pennsylvania’s University of Pittsburgh, reported a frequency of sexual difficulties similar to that of couples studied by Masters and Johnson. Despite the problems, almost all of the individuals in the study reported that their sexual relationship was satisfactory. When it was good, the sexual sharing added to the overall sense of contentment and affection. When it wasn’t, the rest of the relationship seems to have supplied enough warmth and understanding to make the difficulties less important.

Some therapists even feel that when a married couple does find sexual problems troubling enough to seek counselling, what may help the marriage more is not the improved techniques learnt but the experience of sharing a mutual goal and working together, tenderly and lovingly, to achieve it.

When problems are not so acute, or when people feel they’ve hit a dull patch, many couples take time off by themselves. Says Susan, “When my husband and I are by ourselves, there’s a feeling of real romance all over again.”

Going away together, alone, can provide a temporary return to that blissful first stage. “You have to go away,” one wife says, “even if you just go downtown to a hotel. Otherwise you see the dust under the bed, the dishes in the sink and the briefcase in the hall. You have to leave all that behind.”

When everything is left behind, all the energy that went into running a joint life can be turned into renewing the basis for it – the loving, continuing relationship of a man and a woman who have chosen to move through time together.

Those are the moments that sustain a marriage, and spouses committed to along love build up their own private treasury. It can be lying together in a quiet room while dawn slowly lightens outside the window, holding hands under a restaurant table or coming together after a separation with fresh hunger for each other.

All are ways of making love.

Critical Analysis of The Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Maurice Blanchot though being a heavy weight of Literature is largely ignored by the mainstream public due to the dense obscurity of his work. Blanchot’s literature remains largely ornamental like a piece of Baroque opera with strands of philosophy running through it. I would like to discuss the thoughts that I came through while reading his magnum opus: The Space of Literature.

Maurice Blanchot begins his work be characterizing Writing as Solitude. What is solitude in everyday life? It means an inner calm of tranquility. It is questionable to ask whether a writer writes out of solitude or excitement. He quotes Rilke: ‘I haven’t produced a single work: my solitude has engulfed me’. Why can’t the writer be agitated when he is writing his work? I am sure that Nietzsche wrote: Thus spoke Zarathustra while undergoing bouts of insanity. A Freudian ID gets provoked into the necessity of writing. Even mystics when they meditate are never in solitude. There are in a state of deep contemplation. One can also write out of the passion to write but one can never be in solitude when one is in a state of writing. When one is in the process of writing, one gravitates to the center of meaning. So I would like to reformulate Blanchot’s solitude as excitement, agitation, passion and contemplation. The mind can never be in solitude.

Again Blanchot goes on to say that a writer never knows whether his work is finished or not. In one sense it is true and in another sense it is not. Any work of Literature is only partial does not display art to sense of completion. But then again in a literary work, there’s a beginning and an ending. Let’s take an example of Ulysses by James Joyce. The novel running into eight hundred pages and depicts twelve hours of person’s life mainly Bloom, Stephen and Molly. There is a beginning and an ending to the work. Blanchot is partially right when he says that no work of art is complete. A work of art has got only degrees of perfection. Similarly Blanchot also mentions that a reader enters into solitude while encountering a work. Readers of pulp fiction are causal readers. The work of a serious reader is marked by the phenomenology of reading. The mind of a serious reader works as an inter-textual machine. Reading interferes with what has been read in the past. The ontology of existentialism, the autobiographical possession of the reader comes into play while reading. There is perfect reading but there are only imperfect interpretations.

It’s through an absence that word being of writer comes into existence. I would like to refute this statement by saying that writing is affirmation of presence, a saturation of it. Being is pronounced into the becoming of meaning. In writing there’s indulgence of the meaning of being. Writing is excess of being. Presence of being is an affirmation for a writer.

Again he goes on to say that a writer never reads his or her work. That can be true to some extent. Would a writer really enjoying editing his or work? A writer does not function as a reader. The writer merely proof reads his or her work.
For a writer, a word is something that cannot be mastered. How could that be the case? A writer is a lingual-maniac. He finds new usages for pre-existing ones. He or she also creates new words: for example neologisms. A writer invents tropes of language. How can this be possible without mastery? Writing is not sterile but active and dynamic.

To write is to break the bond between the word and the self. I would like to say that writing is a catharsis. The bond between writing, the word, and the self is one of unison. Writing is akin to having sexual intercourse. The self and the word are bonded to a writer.

The writer belongs to a language that no one speaks. Yes, writing is inventive and seeks new paradigms of a discovery of meaning. Tropes belong to the language of nascence and newness. Writing is a process of self discovery.

When we admire the tone of the work, we are not referring to style or virtues of the language but to a silence. Blanchot is not sure about what this silence is. We are in fascination and catharsis when we unveil the imagery used by a writer. There is intellectual and emotional gratification. We do not encounter the work in silence.

What is the journal? It is not romantic, not essentially confessional. It is the writer when he or she is not writing. I feel that Blanchot is being vague there. Again he goes on to say that a journal is written out of fear and anguish. The writing of the journal is no longer historical. Romanticism has acquired new shades of meaning in blog writing. Taste, art and culture are all romanticized by bloggers undergoing a new experience. As Wordsworth has said ‘poetry is the spontaneous overflow of feeling’. To be romantic is to be in state of mind that’s in passion. Writing a journal can also be confessional. To be confessional is to be passionate and expressive. My writing on adultery is confessional. It is wrong to say that a journal is not historical. For example let’s take Ann Frank. Ann Frank is a passionate outburst of the oppressions that she encountered during a Nazi regime. Thus a journal can be confessional, romantic and historical.

To write is to surrender to time’s absence. I would like to disagree with the statement. Time in writing flows as streams of consciousness. Time is reflective and contemplative when the writer engages in writing. Writing cannot be marked by the absence of time.

Fascination is solitude’s gaze. To write is to let fascination rule the language. The gaze of the writer could be a sexual, one; it could also be subjective, philosophical, materialistic and transcendental. The gaze is intentional and is borne out the repressed in the ID.

Again he quotes Mallarme: ‘When I write into verse, I encounter nothingness, an absence of God and my own death. It is questionable to ask Blanchot, how negation can enter the realm of writing. Negation is nihilism, a negative affirmation when something positive does not happen. Writing is self proclaiming and affirmative. Yes after Nietzsche’s proclamation that ‘God is dead’, writing has become anthropocentric. How can a writer enter the realm of death? Is the writer killing his self when he enters into the train of writing? According to Camus, while writing we enter into a philosophical suicide. Yes there’s death of the actual self and birth of the creative self.

Again Blanchot goes to distinguish between the crude word and the ornamental word. When we say that the flower is in the garden we are using crude language or the language of communication. If I use: I am flowering her lips, I am ornamentally decorating the language. Writing is ornamental, decorative and hyperbolic. Again he goes on to say: poetry is the universe of words where relations and configurations are attained through sound, figure and rhythmic language. Poetry is akin to the musicality of words, and it flows with the Dionysian rhythm and makes presence with the Orpheus of figures.

Kafka began his writing out of true despair. We should know that Kafka had a stormy relationship with his father. He was also an exiled Jew. Kafka despised authority figures. Writing for Kafka grew out of protest against authoritarianism. This is especially true when we analysis his work-the Metamorphosis. The work is allegorical and shows the negation of individuality by authority figures. The individual in Metamorphosis is reduced into fragments. Writing for Kafka was spiritual and psychological salvation. Kafka made the affirmation that nothing else besides literature satisfies me. The more Kafka writes: the less sure is he of himself.

Art is primarily the consciousness of unhappiness not its consolation. How can art be the consciousness of unhappiness alone? One can experience art through the consciousness of joy and affirmation. Let’s diagnose Picasso’s painting of the Guernica. Was Picasso filled with angst of the bombing of Basque? Or was he affirming creativity while painting the Guernica. When I meditate on Dali’s painting: The persistence of Memory, I am filled with cathartic interpretation. I appreciate its meaning to portray time as streams of consciousness. I also marvel at the melting clock placed on the frozen embryo and interpret it as Dali’s own oedipal trauma.