I'm going to try to write something personal, so if you don't want to read, you don't have to. I just want to put it down somewhere.
I've told you about my latest story. I didn't mention that the main character is almost entirely based off of me. Her heart is broken by everything, even changing clothes, even going to sleep at night, because every little change and every goodbye and every lost moment is filled with unbearable sadness for her. That's me. But she has one philosophy that I didn't realize I had as well, which came out of nowhere as I was writing, which stays with her until almost the very end: it is not enough to love. It is not enough to love someone, no matter how intensely, no matter how deeply and earth-shatteringly you love them, because you cannot save them. The people she loves are lost to her one by one and while before she felt that her love was so vital to her that she could never lose it, now she sees everything which has touched her heart falling away.
I've been writing poetry all day. I'm not a very good poet, but the poems I write, at least most of them, mean something to me--something intense and small and deep, as if I've cut a peice of myself out into them. I write about the fall from grace. I write things in half-words I don't know how to express fully. I write about love overcoming even the previously mentioned fall from grace--because it is love. And I wrote a poem with this story in mind which says, "It is not enough to love."
The peom does not prove it, though. It is a poem about holding on to what has been left behind and holding on to the "above". And yet, because I was writing it with this story and this character in mind, I wrote It is not enough to love. In fact, I repeated it and I made the poem about it, because that is what the story and the character is about. Not holding on to what has been left behind, not reaching for the above, but accepting the sadness of the world and doing just the opposite. Acknowledging, even believing, that it is useless to love someone, because you cannot keep them with you.
And then I wrote another poem. Between my little tales of fallen angels and overcoming love, I wrote a poem with no concept of it at all, only the sudden, desperate, emotional conviction that I had to write something else. And I started it, "It is enough to love."
And I began to cry.
It is not the character's philosophy. It is not my philosophy. It is something I am afraid of, to my entire depth. I am afraid of thinking to myself, it is not enough to love. I am afraid of losing what I love and therefore turning away from it entirely. I am afraid of becoming this character, who has nothing to hold on to but an eternity of useless memories and the refusal to take hold of the glimmer of hope for the future, the spark which she is given and refuses to touch because she wants it too desperately. I am afraid of becoming that person.
Before I began this story at all, in a notebook which I was writing poems in, I wrote at the top of the page, "It is not enough to love." That is all I wrote. I could not bring myself to write more; I could not find the words for the poetry that followed. That was all that was there, overwhelming and terrible. That was all I could think of to feel. And on the very next page I began the first draft of this story, as if it were an outlet for my fears, a warning to myself that I should never become this person. I never want to become this person.
I know that my character will change her mind. I know I cannot bear to leave her with that life, where love is not enough to save a person. I know she will be brought to it, like I was, but not exactly like I was, because she is not me. She is a person who I will never become, someone cold and afraid and desperate and longing for a thing she cannot touch, which she won't bring herself to see before her.
But I admit, I am still afraid. I will always be afraid. I will fear every day that I love something which I can lose, but I will love anyway, exactly because I can lose it. I will love because it is enough to save someone, and it is enough to save me.
It is enough to love.