A few weeks ago, completely out of the blue, I absolutely *had* to reread Love in the Time of Cholera, which I no longer had in my possession. A quick trip to a bookstore remedied that, and it has been reread. This week, it was Washington Square, which led to Daisy Miller.
These aren’t books I typically reread – the only one I’d read more than once was Daisy Miller, and I’m reasonable certain I haven’t read that one since college. (Though I did once see a passable movie version.)
My relationship with Love in the Time of Cholera has definitely changed. The first time I read it, I loved it, except for once small piece that was really infuriating. Now that piece infuriates me less, and other parts bother me. But I understand it differently now, and while there are things in it that are bothersome, I see the points Marquez was making. I won’t wax poetic or offer in-depth thoughts, but I will say that even though this story takes place in another time period and another culture, I see threads of truth in it from my own life and experiences.
Not to mention that I had my own personal Florentino for years, until I finally shook him off in 2012. (And I don’t plan to run off with him on a steamboat when I’m in my 6os.) So rereading it now that I’ve managed to remove that person from my life, and I’m older and a bit more cynical about love and relationships, the story began to sing to me in ways it didn’t the first time.
I see Washington Square in a more feminist way than I had before; same with Daisy Miller, which is how I read it in college, but the years have brought with them a deeper understanding. There’s a lot more going on in Daisy Miller than I remembered. Or perhaps I never saw it there the first time; it’s amazing what we miss when we lack life experience, and amazing how some writers are able to create such subtly that you can read the same book over and over and see something new each time.
Same with any art form, really. Maybe a year or so back, I started listening to early 90s Tori Amos again, and what her early catalog means to me has entirely changed. It’s interesting, because I remember listening to these songs on repeat all through the early and mid-90s, but by the time I was in college, I had stopped. I haven’t been drawn into her work that much since Abnormally Attracted to Sin, so I turned back to Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink. Remembering what that music meant to me as a young teenager who was struggling rather badly emotionally, and here I am now in my mid-thirties, remembering that person…it’s like crawling inside a ghost of yourself. But I crawled back out again and listened to these albums start to finish, listened to them like it was the first time, and they’re completely different now. And I love that.
I’m not sure why my brain is suddenly demanding that I turn back to things that, in some cases, I haven’t thought about in years, but I’m following the cravings. I’m indulging them. I’m curious to see where they lead.