Nov 8, 2015 by


Where you learned to love. My parents, my siblings. I was loved unconditionally as a child and being the favourite didn’t hurt.

Your first cut – was it the deepest? Yes, at the time. I was eighteen, and she was twenty, an older woman. It was my first time and I could barely breathe. I thought then all the things you think about in bed, wondering if it might lead to something lasting and profound. But it was very brief and I was devastated. Luckily, what’s deep when you’re a teen is barely tangible years later.

Your love who got away. I wish there were just one. The first one needed someone much older to comfort her. The second one I abandoned, thinking she’d be there when I returned. The third one still loved me for a long time after. But they marry and have children, then become someone else. Though the version you loved never really leaves you when they have touched you like that. They live in my dreams still, unaged from when I knew them best.

Your “type” – and why. They have gone from 5’2 to 6’ and a range of sizes and colours. So it must have been, in the end, their sense of humour, their wicked imaginations, and their smiles.

Your favourite literary romance. It’s a tie. One – Stendhal’s Red and Black. It’s about young and old, rich and poor, and ambition. Almost every great romance in fiction has been based on one that Julien Sorel engaged in first. Two – Marguerite Duras’ The Lover. It’s about young and old, rich and poor, and interracial. Story of my life. I’m not saying you have to be French to write about love, but it seems to help.

Your thoughts on friends being lovers. It’s inevitable when one has attractive friends, though often short-lived. One hopes the friendship remains. See unrequited, below.

Your thoughts on the net amounts of pleasure and pain. Oh, I’m too much of a hedonist to do anything painful. Love must be pleasurable to endure.

Your story about unrequited love. I loved someone I worked closely with for many years and it almost drove me mad. At one point we might have been co-dependent. It’s very dangerous to teeter on the edge of friendship with someone like that. In the end I pushed for something more and that was that. Now she too lives in my dreams. When the stars align we have a ménage a trois with the one who got away, above.

Your favourite author/artist on love. When I was younger, each great writer had something to say about love – comic, tragic, or magical. I was very moved by each new thought or observation because of my inexperience. Now that I’m older, and have had my own share of romance and heartbreaks, I still think they might have something to say – but it takes more to move me. The last writer who made me cry was Michel Houellebecq, who writes a lot about the futility of love. In the end, love on the page pales with the love in your life.

Your reconciliation of the domestic and the erotic. That’s an easy one that the Victorians figured out. Keep your clothes on at home until they absolutely can’t stay on any longer. And find a partner who likes to play – in the kitchen.

Your thoughts on marriage. I tried it. I think the first year was the best part. Would I do it again? Yes – especially with the promise of children.

Love changes when you have children. At this point, the closest thing I have to children are books with my authors. They’re my legacy.

Your thoughts on resisting temptation. Unlike Oscar Wilde, I can resist it. Temptation is only intense at the outset. Soon you wonder what the big deal was about.

Your advice on breaking up. I think I was better at it when I was younger and just acted with my heart. I mean I would break up with someone on Valentine’s day. Now suddenly my head is involved and I’m thinking more responsibly.

Your lessons from love. Being in love has inspired me to dream bigger but it has also made me terrified of wanting too much.

Your greatest regret in love. That I can’t make it last.

Your thoughts on infidelity – one night stand, fling, or affair. I never got into one night stands. Flings are fun. A French synonym for affair is “an adventure” – I like that idea and prefer the emotional intimacy and intrigue that comes with having an affair over something shorter. Ultimately, the promise of an affair is better than the thing itself since it helps you realize what’s really at stake and whether what you’re in isn’t perhaps already over.

Your ideal love: madness or redemption? I’m more familiar with the madness part but ideally the two would be the black and white parts of a heart-shaped yin/yang.

Your advice on making love last. It’s hard when love itself is a moving target, especially as one ages. I’m better at it at 50, than say at 35. When I figure it out I’ll let you know.



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