Sunday, February 14, 2010

For The Love of...Love

Well, here we are: it's Valentine's Day. I'm wondering what you find romantic. At a time in my life when I was feeling particularly vulnerable and had just met someone very special, with whom I'd fallen in love, I found myself much more open to themes of love in literature and films. I read "Love In the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I'd already read some of his earlier works, including "One Hundred Years of Solitude") and thought it was sheer genius and captured true love perfectly. I recommended it to my BFF who couldn't get very far into it at all and said she simply couldn't relate to the characters on any level at all.

Around this same time, I went to see two French films, and was deeply moved by them. One was Louis Malle's "Au Revoir Les Enfants", which doesn't really have anything to do with "romantic" love at all, but more aptly reflects the love of two young schoolboys in France who are friends (one is Jewish) at the onset of World War II. The other film, "Le Grand Chemin" deals with love in a few different relationships, but I was so moved by it that when I emerged from The Michigan Theater, my eyelids were actually swollen from crying. Love, I learned, will do that to you.

I know we all have different notions of what music we find romantic. I am fond of Norah Jones' rendition of the Hoagy Carmichael song "The Nearness of You", although Branford Marsalis has recorded an instrumental version of it that is just as lovely, IMO. Sting's work appeared in the film "Leaving Las Vegas" and one of his songs "My One And Only Love" is utterly superb and swoon-inducing. Years ago, while I was still in Europe, Sting launched a new CD featuring a song called "We'll Be Together" that I also found pretty wonderful. A song I once sang in public (at someone's request, not spontaneously!) was "The Shadow Of Your Smile", also known as the theme song from the film "The Sandpiper", and I associate this song in a wry, wistful way with love, too, as is the case with the Sheryl Crow-Sting duet "Always On Your Side".

Sometimes love hurts. Sometimes it's good to feel the pain, just to affirm that you're still capable of sensing anything.

And on that bittersweet note, I bid you all a Happy Valentine's Day. If you have someone you love, show 'em while you can. Life is brief, true love is eternal. And it's important to remember, love is never wasted.

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