Romanticism. A state or a movement? Both, if you consider romanticism to be whatever involves the imagination or emotions. I don’t know, I think it goes even deeper than that. If I have an emotional connection to a box of letters that sits in the cabinet in the room where all the books are, doesn’t that mean I’m romantic about the letters, or about letters in general? And if I’m romantic about letters, what does that reveal about my character? I’m really more romantic about the idea of letters than I am about them in actuality. Though I do have a fixation on paper, stamps, pens — the accoutrements of relationship. I guess I’ve always had stars in my eyes on some level.
I suppose I am a romantic person, not necessarily in a hearts and flowers way, but in the way that I think everything means something. I attach meaning to the smallest ephemera — a certain flower spotted at the market that is surely a sign from my Mama, every Alabama quarter is, or course, a message of support from my Daddy, every encounter is intended to occur, etcetera. I used to be embarrassed about my tendency to live on the woo-woo side of life, but I don’t apologize anymore. It gives me fuel to use my imagination, to know my emotions, to even deepen the meaning of my life. A small collection of Buddha figurines makes me stop and recall the circumstances under which I acquired each. The charm bracelets on my arm, one completely full and one halfway, serve as tactile reminders of people, places, things, and events that I like to recall. Maybe romanticism serves to slow us down. Maybe our piles of memories, in whatever form, remind us to breathe. There are those among us who live by a cleaner aesthetic, but I think most folks are naturally different kinds of magpies — we collect and surround ourselves with things that make us remember we’ve been somewhere, done something or somethings, that we were and are loved.
You know that Patti Smith book I put on my Five for Friday the other day? That’s a romantic book. I think her writing is romantic anyway — she always lovingly describes objects and her routines, the places and people she encounters — and it’s lovely. It’s warm like your favorite sweater. Romanticism can be cold too — think of John Cusack and they way he’s always standing in the rain in movies trying to get the attention of the object of his affection. That’s romantic, but it makes me shiver. Ha. Okay I’m being silly now. I guess I’m allowed.
Is romanticism just idealism at bottom? Seeing the world through a fuzzy pink lens? Well, it’s too hard to look at some days without one. I’m thankful for my bad eyesight.
Peace and love and happy Wednesday,