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?