The Sweetness of Dependence

21 May

I keep my summer challenge books in a blue shopping bag on the floor by my bookshelf. I originally wanted to use the “go-fish” system of selecting the sequence of the reading of the books. I would close my eyes, hover above the bag, and dive my hand into the pile, pulling out the next book I was to digest. But I decided instead to choose my next book by alternating the type of book, genre, time period, or subject matter. The first book I decided to read was Summer by Edith Wharton, because I wanted something to get me in the mood for the coming season. Summer is a novel about a young librarian, Charity Royall, who spends the summer in a love affair with a newcomer to town, Lucius Harney, and while she enjoys her liaison, discovers the dangers of that love as she gets pregnant and ultimately forced into marriage by the man who raised her, the lawyer Mr. Royall.

"Summer" by Edith Wharton

The lush New England seasonal scenery described by Wharton was a joy to read, and definitely excited me for the oncoming summer, as have the past few days of heat and sunshine. But, more than that, the book really got me thinking about my summer challenge. When she first starts flirting with Lucius, and she feels wanted for the first time, she starts to feel what Wharton calls “the sweetness of dependence.” That got me thinking about why I started my challenge, and why I write this blog. I’ve always had a weight problem, but when I get down to the bottom of it, is my driving factor really my health? It should be, but isn’t my real aim in losing weight a chance at feeling the sweetness of dependence? I know any doctor would list the health reasons for losing weight, but any good group of friends would say weight loss is the best boost for self-esteem, or the perfect doorway into the house of love.
What about dating and blogging? I don’t believe dating has anything to do with the sweetness of dependence. In fact, dates are one of the least dependable things I can think of—mostly because we imbue them with expectations. I should be able to depend on someone to be somewhere by a certain time, but once they fail, I already deem them undependable. What about the expectations we have of the dinner conversation and the subtle nods we expect—the hand that grazes yours as he passes a fork, or the extra laugh after an unfunny joke—to bolster the mood or our ego. We come to expect these, to depend on them, to help our self-esteem, and because we want to sample what we think will be the sweetness of dependence. Even though we may just be masking the taste of the bitterness of delusion.

I check my blog every few minutes. WordPress (my parent blog website) offers on its home site a line graph that tracks the progress of how many hits your blog gets per day. I watch this like Hollywood executives track box office scores. It’s nice to know that one hundred and forty-one people have looked at my blog in one day. To know that people out there wish to read what I so carefully take the time to write is an ego-booster, but it also reassures my heart that the life I lead is worth living, and it reassures my head that what I have to say is worth reading.

Is Edith Wharton’s book an advertisement for the fruits of summer and the beauty that comes with awakening one’s senses to the sweetness of dependence? Or, is it a warning for those wide-eyed individuals who, like me, go into the summer looking for a change of pace? Charity Royall found an everlasting love, though ended up pregnant by one man, abandoned by him, and married to another. Though I don’t have to worry about birth control, am I setting myself up in my quest for life’s riches and sweetnesses for a sense of bitter regret? A loved one asked me if I would be upset if I didn’t get to the twenty dates I set out for at the beginning of my mission, and after reading Summer, my answer is that, it might not be the worst thing in the world. Sometimes, when you get everything you want, and your soul is transported to nirvana on a summer’s breeze, there’s nowhere to go but down—a fall into autumn. Maybe my lesson from Wharton is much like a lesson that I should take for dating itself—setting up expectations distracts one from the most important parts of life. Sometimes, you have focus on the experience. And that’s what my blog is about:  experiences. I may have a goal in mind, but once I reach my goal, the blog has to end. So, I wouldn’t mind not reaching my goal, because it would only give me more opportunity to express myself, and I sweetly depend on you to stay with me along the way.

1st book: Summer by Edith Wharto, 19 books to go.

2 Responses to “The Sweetness of Dependence”

  1. Brian Centrone 05/21/2010 at 11:49 pm #

    Matthew, you are knocking them out of the park! Good for you. I’m really enjoying your blog and I can totally relate. The truth of the matter is regardless of the health benefits, losing weight is the “sweetness of dependence.” When I lost all of mine, the whole world changed. I was about to live a lifestyle not open to me before. Then when the weight came back, that door closed and it was like Charity getting pregnant and losing the independence that got her there.

    I’m really excited to see how things turn out. You are a good writer, with good ideas and a strength to implement them. I look forward to following you on your way to success.


  2. Nancy LaRocque 05/31/2010 at 8:54 pm #

    You can depend on me to follow you and your dreams.If you want something meaningful for yourself, work hard, devote yourself, and it will happen. Life is an adventure..
    Can’t wait to read more….

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