Fault in Our Stars: Review/Discussion


The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars (Photo credit: TheNerdDilettante)

Let’s get the crying discussion out-of-the-way.
A book isn’t good because it made you cry. I understand that the significance of that is really ambiguous. But yes, I have been crying for the past few days, while reading this book, and I fully expect to cry for a few more days. And then, if the books does fall out of my consciousness I still will be crying because I’m stumbling over some personal battles. The crying is more about me then someone else’s story. But expressing this really human/mortal experience that triggers this emotional prolonged emotional response is why ‘crying’ is used as a way to say this book is really good. Because it is inflicting a pain that’s so human.

‘Cancer Book’ Discussion 
That pain isn’t cancer. I wouldn’t say that writing a sad cancer story is hard. Most creative content about cancer is sad but not all of it is as dynamic as Fault in Our Stars. The depth of this pain that the reader goes through is what makes this book intelligent. This depth exists for two reasons.
One: The writing of this book is phenomenal, on a contemporary masterpiece level. Yes, I know “Young Adult” and all but listen to me, long confusing prose isn’t what defines a literary masterpiece. A literary masterpiece is a book with a strong point of view, the MC Hazel Grace was engrained in every plot point, every description, every thought plop, and the plot itself was engrossing, and the relationships grew and shrunk and were divulged and shown in full complexity, and even the secondary characters were expressed with full dimensionality and growth and blabla, I could rant on and on from a writing POV on why this is a good book —
— but who gives a fuck about that.

Two: This book is a new favorite because of something way more emotional and potent then anything you can learn in a creative writing class.
I said that the pain isn’t cancer but that doesn’t mean I fully believe this isn’t a cancer book. I understand the metaphorical significance of cancer but disregarding the non-metaphorical, non-romantic, non-emotionally painful, actual concrete plot-driven experiences that Hazel Grace and her lover Augustus Water experiences is the kind of thing that would cause Hazel Grace to roll her eyes at you. Yeah, there is metaphorical weight to cancer but her pain came from a very real and physical place, as was many components of the plot, so I disagree with saying this book isn’t a cancer book. It is a cancer book. It also has headfuckery that goes beyond the physical consequences of a tumor.
The Personal Stuff
I think by now you understand my 5-star review thing. Cool. If you haven’t read it and just wanted a review then please leave now and go grab it from your library and commence on your own literary self-destruction and revel in it. If you have read it and feel like I do, vacant and alone in a world of vacant and alone bodies, and want to attempt to connect with someone then I’m about to divulge some parts that connected with me….
I know I love. I know I love my boyfriend, and parents, and friends, and art, and all the life in the future, even if it is going to hurt, and all the other lives around me, even if I’m shy, and even myself, even when I’m dark, and this book is the reminder that it is all going to pass. It isn’t the only reminder but I almost shut some of those morbid thoughts out of my head. And reading this book was like my first loved one’s funeral, that first realization, that everyone that I love will die. That I have three choices in the world: mourn a loved one, be mourned for, or die with that loved one. That’s the situation that scalps me.
But this book is far from nihilistic. We might all die and end up in a ditch and end up forgotten in the long-term but who cares about the long term. The mortal points of our life are filled with so much significance that it might as well be infinite because it would take an infinite quantity of time to recognize what all these emotions and experiences really are, really mean.
That’s what makes it worth it. We aren’t grenades ready to blow each other up. Pain is worth the moments alive with each other, the love that we share with each other, that pain is a byproduct of living, we can’t avoid it, so we might as well feel pain for those that are worth it, and that’s why we need to love. That’s why the romance in this book, from lover to love, to parent to lover, to friend to friend, is all so fucking real.
It is like this:
Dear my lovers:

I love you so much that I will mourn for you. I could mourn for someone else but you are worth it. You are worth the pain of mourning because living with you is a universe: subliminal, infinite, and filled with love.

Meta Analysis on Self-Destruction 

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars (Photo credit: rachelkramerbussel.com)

Yes, this book can be optimistic, I sorta just said it was, right? But I still think this book was more a self-destructive choice for me than an enlightened rainbow-and-unicorn choice. This book is very. . real. It very much discusses the agonies of dying, death, and mourning. It also discusses the extreme power of love, that overpowers, even these extricating experiences. So, the optimism is: everything really really hurts but there are forces on this planet (i.e.:love) that’s worth all the pain. (That’s the kind of pessimism/optimism that I live for.)
Since I started this book I have had an extreme anxiety that someone I love will die. I have had particular people and ‘fantasies’ about those people in mind — I do have some emotional health disorders, so maybe this did trigger an attack, but I am experiencing something dark. This book did spark this inside of me. In a sense, this book is the grenade– this dark short piece that has engrossed me with pain — but I love it so deeply that it is worth it. So, it is accidentally? meta* in this fashion. This book gave me a pleasant and enjoyable relationship with a cast of characters that really feel ‘alive’ to me, plus, a concrete reminder of yes, mortality, but also that other people think like I do — that I’m not alone, that we are all on this planet dealing with this same subliminal experience.
*again the major plot point in this book in a fictional-book about cancer, so there is some intentional meta as well

A Love Letter


Dear JR:

In the coming down of yoga, I realized some things. I have known my love for you is a cleaner and more enjoyable love for a while now. I have even mistaken my lack of fanaticism for loving you less. Preferably, but less. But in my meditations, when my heart expands to post-orgasm girth, without your touch or even presence, with gigantism inspired by thought alone, I realize that I love you more than I have loved anyone before. You are my favorite part of my life. You make me happiest. You make me most inspired. You ground humanity into me and elevate me to idealism — you allow me to feel infinite, to feel galactic, like an asteroid floating in the outer space of the human experience and human possibilities. You are my everything — and I don’t mean that in the spineless way I have used the phrase in the past. You don’t define my present or future– only I define those things. You know this, but I don’t even see the future, though when I almost pulled the trigger on us recently, I realized that my relationship with you spreads further forward then I can expect, and those realizations surprised me. Because, I see yesterday, rolling in Washington Sq. Park’s grass, saxophone oozing the blues in the background, and your other partner laughing with us– our bliss, our exchange of honesty. I see today, though it was digitally contained, there was still the sending of love notes, anxiety notes, motivational notes, phallic jokes, and geeky banter. I see a language not based on traditional dialect but reinvented in my tongue and in yours. Our spit and molars roll around the vowels, and then we whisper devious promises. We blush but we are in love. I think it is pure. Each time I confess love with someone new, the word reinvents itself. And this time the poems in my ear are lullabies. And I curl into your chest, your pet, your mouse, I squeak into your collarbone, trace it with my meek tongue that can never flirt with you with the rigor of my pen, I look into your icy eyes, and I know that in that cliché hearts-beating-out-the-same-Beatles-song way, that really should make me throw up– but I know, that this moment in my life is beautiful, because I’m sharing it with you. You are sharing it with me.

And that’s why yoga is a really weird experience for me.

Polyamory I: Idealism


Trigger Warning: Divorce

My first (poly) relationship

The three of us clenched onto the person to our side, our four hands made a perfect combination. His left hand, with his proud wedding ring, and my right fit smoothly. And his right tangled into her left, with her proud wedding ring, was so perfect inside each other as well. For me it was my first relationship- and I haven’t had monogamous since. I do not know how I would fit into monogamy. But I was able to find out that I did fit into polyamory.

There weren’t that many complications. Well, except that time that we cause a bit of mayhem prancing around 5th Avenue while clinging onto each other’s hands. We made a giant love chain which the hundreds of people smothering the concrete didn’t find romantic, just a nuisance.

The whole thing was a secret, which killed me. And the relationship itself. Eventually.

It would have caused an uproar if I talked about it and perhaps I’m too much of a coward to deal with the attention one gets when they flip off society.

Why do people get married?

I guess, there is this sigh of relief when marriage is on because one feels like all the awkward is over. All the first dates filled with the blubbering conversation or the desperate lays with your co-worker, class mate, hipster on the F train, that you only went with to not feel so lonely–

But, I think I can find other ways to not be lonely.

I hate how shocked people get when I say I don’t want to get married. Like, marriage is essential to the human soul. Marriage isn’t a natural instict, it is  an artificial binding. However, feeling loved and loving someone else might very well be a need for the human soul. But that doesn’t necessarily connect to a ceremony that has a) been accomplished so many times before and b) failed so many times before. The repetition of marriage creates an inanity in the institution. Having universal experiences is a way to just copy and paste our lives into this one conglomerate perspective, which may be incorrect, or maybe it doesn’t even matter if it is incorrect. Maybe we only have 80 years, 29, 200 days, to stomp on that concrete, breathe this smoggy air, fuck on our beds and maybe it would be more fulfilling if we stop trying to make our intimate lives so universal and try to do something that we actually want. Before we get penetrated by The Scythe.

Even though the couple I was with had a positive relationship with marriage and a very loving successful one themselves, it wasn’t enough to give me hope in the institution; I was and am still aware of the 50% divorce rate.

In a similar fashion, my parent’s marriage hasn’t persuaded me. They haven’t gotten divorced and have never cheated on each other and are living out a very ‘50s household/traditional way of life. It works for them, I think, and they are generally happy. They hit rough bumps like every other relationship every here and there but I do not see them getting divorced in the future. But I don’t understand why the relationship that created you has to be one’s foundation for all romance. Their situation isn’t going to nullify every other divorce story I encounter. I’m not in a bubble. I see what is going around me. And I don’t like it.

Tradition

I hate traditional. I loathe it. It isn’t working yet so many people are living it out anyway just in the name of tradition. For traditional romance. Instead of looking at the problem and trying to reasonably find solutions.

Love is about a new experience. Love is about redefining your self with the addition of someone else. Love is about exploration. Love is not about conservativism. It is about bringing others into your life to reinvent it into something new and fresh and beautiful. Love is about finding out what beauty is to you. Love is about finding out who you are.

Tradition isn’t about you. Tradition is about everyone before you. Tradition is about something that has been done in the past that continues to be done for no other reason except that it has been done before. Tradition is about keeping a line of similarity in all those who follow. Tradition is about living under old definitions and perspectives and tradition is about declining an existential search of what love, relationship, life is to you.

Breaking away from tradition

So, try something new, if it fails you can always go back to the status quo; some people have to fit into the majority anyway.

But I encourage experimentation to figure out if your self aligns or not.  Try loving two beings at once. Try to expand the love you have out of your rib cages, outside of your bed, outside of your home, outside of the comfort of your picket fence, and try something that you have always been told to be repulsed by.

Fuck a married man. Fuck a married woman. Fuck the two at the same time. It is an interesting feeling to look up and see someone grin through their chest towards you and then after towards his wife. It is interesting to break out of constraints and allow one to love unconditionally.

With everyone’s consent, naturally. I’m not advocating ruining someone else’s marriage.

I was dating someone whose love wasn’t affected by being shared. When I inquired about the nature of his love, he compared it to a parent loving more than one child or a friend having more than one best friend.  That romantic love is a lot like other variants of love in the way that it doesn’t run out. He proved this to me by being able to smirk with his heart at me, and listen to me when I have my insecure breakdowns, a bi-daily event, and be there for me, and do all the right things. And make me feel so confident that I can be loved.

At the same time he loved his wife. He longed for her so desperately when she went out of state, and spoke in code to her, and honored her beauty and her flaws.

Though that relationship didn’t work out, I am still an advocate of polyamory and am still in nonmongamous relations. Nowadays my poly shape is a lot more complicated then the simple ‘V’ shape of my previous relationship but I enjoy it. I enjoy allowing myself to be open and vulnerable to people who are important to me. I enjoy not having to keep my emotion pent up for one person and being able to express myself, honestly. I enjoy all different kinds of people and I like that I never have to choose one person. That one incompatibility doesn’t mean a relationship is useless to me. That I can be constantly exploring and constantly expanding the quantity of love that I receive and give.

Why is this important?

In other words, for the most of us, love is essential. It is what is keeping our cells duplicating, mucus flowing, heart pumping, mouth salivating, and lungs rising. For most of us, love is health.

We have too small of expectations on the human ability to love. There is a lot of passion buried inside of every one of us and we can love more people than we think we can. Or I think so. I think more of us are polyamorous then we think.  Whoever reads this might be but just never thought about it. If you aren’t, then that’s okay, but just think about it. Just try to understand relationships, understand if you fit into the mold, and if you don’t then break free and experiment. Somehow. Polyamory is just my perspective but the real point of it all is to not follow tradition blindly, especially on something as important and personal as love.