Words Wednesday is a column where I share whatever quote I’m most in love with this week in the hopes that it will make both of us better writers. Whether it be from a blog, a movie, or a quote from a person that I read in an article written years later by an entirely different person, these words rocked me emotionally and I want them to inspire you too.
This Words Wednesday is fun because I get to cite three different sources. For one, Fran Lebowitz, a renowned author who said the quote. For two, The Guardian who she told the quote to, and for three Autostraddle who quoted the quote for me to read. So congratulations! If you’re reading this, you get to read a quote that I’m now going to talk about as if I’m qualified to break it down, ignoring the fact that I’m actually four times removed from the situation at least. It’s a good quote though, so keep reading.
If you read the Autostraddle article I linked above (which you should, because Carmen Phillips is a far better writer than I’ll ever be) you know that Lebowitz stated that her relationship with Morrison was one of friendship. You’ll also know that it’s rumored to be ~romantic~
I of course am going to pretend that it’s definitely romantic because not only is that more fun, it also brings me intense joy to know that Toni Morrison and Fran Lebowitz, two icons, dated each other.
Regardless of how you interpret their relationship, I still absolutely adore this quote. Imagine speaking so beautifully that random quotes you say in interviews become examples of beautiful writing??? Incredible. But I digress.
The reason I love this quote is because it sets “love” at odds with “lasting” in a way that is completely counter to the way our culture thinks about monogamy, marriage, and the future. We are so conditioned to believe that we will find our One True Love, settle down, have 2.5 children, and exist in a fraught but carefully concocted harmony for 65 years until we die. Preferably that death will come at the same time, so that neither of us is alone.
But love so rarely lasts, and love is so rarely the Happily Ever After that we were told to believe in. Love is hard, love is effort, and sometimes love just doesn’t work.
This in and of itself isn’t that interesting.
What is interesting is that it isn’t actually love that’s diametrically opposed to Lebowitz’s lasting. It’s falling. It’s the falling in love that never lasts. And this is even more true because if despite all odds you find the perfect relationship that Disney princesses envy, one day you may stop falling. One day you hit a point where you love them completely, and you are no longer falling in love with them.
Too often that’s where the magic dies.
But if you keep falling, if you continue to grow and evolve and find new little things about your partner (whether it be romantic or platonic) that cause you to fall a little bit more in love with them, then you paradoxically avoid both fates. You do not end up out of love and alone, and you don’t end up in a relationship that has been the same over half of your life. You continue to fall and you continue to change and your relationship becomes stronger or different or an entirely new thing altogether.
Maybe, just maybe, continuing to fall is the secret to making a relationship last.