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A way to live, transform, be, not a thing to possess

Markus Sakey's characters in Brilliance referred to a time "back when they had been teenagers who thought love was a noun, a thing you could possess."

We can't possess any experience. Of enjoyment, Alan Watts wrote: "Enjoyment is always gratuitous and can come no other way than of itself, spontaneously. ... Obviously, however, the person who attempts to get something from his present experience feels divided from it. He is the subject and it is the object. He does not see that he is that experience, and that trying to get something from it is merely self-pursuit."

Instead of possessing love, it becomes a way that we live and a way that we transform the world. Michel Foucault: "Affection, tenderness, friendship, fidelity, camaraderie, and companionship. Things which our rather sanitized society can't allow a place for...That's what makes homosexuality so 'disturbing': The homosexual mode of life much more than the sexual act itself. To imagine a sexual not what disturbs people. But that individuals are beginning to love one another – there's the problem."

The way that we live in turn makes us who we are. Gabrielle Zevin:

“Maya,” he says. “There is only one word that matters.” He looks at her to see if he has been understood. Her brow is furrowed. He can tell that he hasn’t made himself clear. Fuck. Most of what he says is gibberish these days. If he wants to be understood, it is best to limit himself to one word replies. But some things take longer than one word to explain.

He will try again. He will never stop trying. “Maya, we are what we love. We are that we love.”

Maya is shaking her head. “Dad, I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”

“We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on.”


Markus Sakey. Brilliance. Las Vegas, N.V.: Thomas and Mercer, 2013.

Alan Watts, Nature, Man, and Woman (1958), New York: Vintage Books, 1991. p 20.

Michel Foucault, "Friendship as a Way of Life." Quoted by David Nimmons, "Changing the World from the Margins." White Crane Journal. Issue #54, Fall 2002. p 7.

Gabrielle Zevin. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2014.


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