Love Can Be Complicated: A Cartoon from Karin Schmitt

As I’ve written before, I was the sort of guy–even before all the eighties romantic comedies I ingested–who could believe I’d fallen in love with a girl even though I’d never talked to her before.  This happened more than once to be sure.   Sometimes I think this is something everyone experiences to some degree, and other times I think I am a certain sort of freak–we all find our ways, right?–and that I’m guilty of projecting my experience onto the experiences of others.  After all, when one of my students says, “I had the typical childhood,” I’m always quick to quiz people around the room about their childhoods.  We often find almost nothing in common.
I write this thinking it’s an obvious observation that many of us romanticize what we think a relationship ought to be, and then we are dissatisfied with relationships when they aren’t are fantasies.  At the recommendation of some of my new Facebook friends, I’m reading Rob Sheffield’s book talking to girls about duran duran. Although I think I know my tendency to romanticize relationships isn’t universal, I see Sheffield has also had this experience.  He writes, “One hundred percent of teenagers dream about making out, but they only dream about making out with 5 percent of other teenagers.  This means our dreams and our realities are barely on speaking terms, so we look forward to making out with people who aren’t real, keeping us in a nearly universal state of teen frustration” (186).  I read Sheffield and I think, “Man Rob, me and you could be buddies,” but then I know that Sheffield is good at what he does, he’s able to tap into the details of his experience that causes a certain circle of people to connect with him, and so he’s probably regularly bombarded with people who approach him calling out, “I loved Morrissey too! We should hang out.”  I teeter totter on a tightrope of tension between universal experience and the uniqueness of each of us.
I have not talked with Karin Krista Schmitt, the artist who drew the cartoon below, about what she “meant” by her drawing.  This seems like another “no, no” I’ve somehow learned:  don’t ask a poet what the poem means.   So whatever I have to say about Karin’s drawing below comes from me, but it comes as a part of a conversation started by her and her work.   I read a piece about the expectations of relationships; I read a text about how life is full of surprises.  There are two fantasies here, and they don’t match up.  Karin is another of my new Facebook friends, living in Germany I think, and when I saw her drawings (in a language I can’t read) I asked her if she might be willing to draw something for my blog and Facebook book page.  I hear lots about how Facebook is such a time waster, and of course it is for many and often for me, but I also think there can be something very exciting happen.  A person told me to read Sheffield and now I am on his second book my yesterday afternoon was better because I sat on a stationary bike for 40 minutes and read.  Karin has sent me this funny and thought-provoking drawing and she has got me thinking…
Karin Schmitt catoon for William Torgerson Love on the Big Screen

Cartoon by Karin Schmitt / see link below for more of her artwork

If you want to take a look at more of Karin’s work, you can find her Facebook here.

A Love “Poem” for my Wife: Shall I Compare Thee to a John Hughes Movie?

If you click on the title above, the Facebook “share” button will appear at the end of this post.  Thanks for taking a look at the poem!

Shall I compare thee to a John Hughes movie?

Thou art Pretty in Pink and sexier than Kelly LeBrock’s lips.

I recall no Weird Science to the chemistry of our first date,

But only your Bueller charm, Farmer Ted wit,

and Some Kind of Wonderful beauty.

You are no Chet, no Principal Richard Vernon on detention duty,

But so thoughtful that you would never forget my birthday

like in Sixteen Candles. Life with you is a Vacation:

more hopeful than Sparky’s family-truckster ride,

racier than Christy Brinkley in that red Ferrari,

richer than the floppy-disk payoff for Samantha Baker’s underwear,

and as magical as Gary and Wyatt’s Barbie Doll ceremony.

While you may not know “If You Leave” was sung by OMD,

Be sure to know that I love you and your love gives life to me.

Thanks to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 for getting me started.

A DRAFT (get it?) of my poem, “Love Is Like a Fart”

The Breakfast Club does their thing

Some of you have asked a fair enough question:  why am I working on a poem about gas?  Today, I was in touch with a man named Jerry Finley who promotes a great eighties cover band called “The Breakfast Club.” In fact, my wife Megan and I had our second ever date, on New Year’s Eve, listening to the band at Amos’s in Charlotte.  Jerry and I discussed the possibility of me opening up for the band on a couple of their concert dates in the spring.   It is a little intimidating to think about opening up for a band with a book in hand rather than a guitar.

I wrote another draft of this, long gone, back in college when my love life wasn’t as blissfully happy (thank you Megan) as it is now.

If you think any part of this structure is genius, credit Langston Hughes.  I have closely followed the structure of his “Dreams Deferred.”  That’s a poem I love and read with many middle school students back when I taught in Charlotte.  Thank you to that poet’s work who helped me tap into some laughs when I wasn’t feeling so spirited.

Love is Like a Fart

What happens to love passed?

Does it stink up

Like a port-o-let in the heat?

Or stain your shorts

With a big brown streak?

Does it ribbit-ribbit like a frog?

Or cloud the future—

Like a dangerous fog?

Maybe it just cuts

Like a big fat lie.

Or does it just die?