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Recently, I read a couple of memoirs that I absolutely loved. The first was I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, and the second was his follow-up memoir, depicting his eventual happily-ever-after-(so-far), called The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir. I really recommend them both so that you have a greater scope of just who Josh Kilmer-Purcell was/is/wants to be/will always be, but if you only read one, I, personally, recommend the second over the first. That’s probably the first time you’ll see someone say that, but here’s why:

I Am Not Myself These Days is a beautifully written love story about how love isn’t always healthy even when it’s got good intentions, and love doesn’t always last, even when it’s something special that will never live on this earth again. It’s about how fairytales, modern varieties at least, don’t always last. The Bucolic Plague, however, is about a real relationship that weathers storms, that trembles on the edge of destruction by forces from within, and manages to right itself because, heck, it might not be the most ‘romantic’ thing in the world, but these people have built a life together, an entire world together, and it isn’t right without the other one in it. There were points in The Bucolic Plague where my chest ached with sadness and empathy for the struggles Brent and Josh were going through together (and apart). Having been with my spouse for over twenty years, I can attest to similar gut-wrenching seasons myself. And the fairytale isn’t in the dream, but in the way you pull through the nightmare, and come back to life together, loving the small things you’ve created as a team, and loving even the things you hate in the other person.

Brent and Josh’s story reminds me of a song lyric:

Watching you go is like spying on hope,
ever onward with more to burn.

– Dar Williams

Reading The Bucolic Plague was truly like spying on hope, the kind of hope we all want to have, and can have if we dig deep. It’s such a joy to read about that kind of hope, pressing onward, never running out of steam, and during the bleak time when it looked like their hope might have been at an end, they pushed onward, and found more to burn. Again, I highly recommend the book.

Does anyone in your life remind you of spying on hope? How do they inspire you?

3 thoughts on “Reading Memoirs: Spying on Hope

  1. “Spying on hope” is a great concept! I like that a lot.

    And the fairytale isn’t in the dream, but in the way you pull through the nightmare, and come back to life together, loving the small things you’ve created as a team, and loving even the things you hate in the other person.

    So true. I have two friends who inspire me. I’ve always said if I get married, I’d want a marriage like theirs. They bicker sometimes and will have spirited disagreements (usually over copious amounts of wine and food), but have such a solid relationship built on respect and affection and true friendship. Their nanny once commented that they were unlike any other couple she’d ever worked for because then they come home from work, they want to sit and actually talk to each other and not just watch TV or go off and do their own things or focus just on the kids.

    They make me want to find that kind of partnership. 🙂

    1. I love the idea of “spying on hope”. It’s something I think I’m going to keep on looking for in lots of different aspects of my life. It’s a beautiful way to think about the wonderful things in other people’s lives, I think.

      That’s awesome about your friends who inspire you! I have to admit, though, that I’m not social enough to want to be in a relationship with someone that I’d actually want to sit and talk with every single day. I am a big fan of the relationship that I’m in which involves a lot of alone time for both of us to work on our projects – like writing for me, or designing speaker systems for him. Obviously, we are very good friends and talk often, but I think from the outside looking in, we’re probably more like the relationships the nanny is accustomed to seeing, and, frankly, that’s good by me. I surely wouldn’t want a spouse who needed my attention every night! Good golly! Go find a way to entertain yourself, dude! 😉

      But I do think, and I think this is what you’re truly getting at, that the foundation of any good relationship is the enjoyment of each other’s company, respect for each other’s passions and opinions, and encouragement of each other’s dreams. And, yes, that kind of relationship is inspirational! I agree! Thanks for the comment, Keira!

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