February Q&A About Love with Eric G. Wilson

  • February 13, 2012

The author of Everyone Loves A Good Trainwreck: Why We Can't Look Away

Everyone Loves A Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away is a concise, personal and essayistic exploration of humanity’s fascination with dark subjects (everything from horror movies, to tourism sites that commemorate tragedies, to serial killer memorabilia). It’s a trenchant combination of cultural criticism, philosophy, psychology, and personal narrative.

February Q&A About Love with Eric G. Wilson, author of Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away (Farrar, Straus, Giroux).

Look what we owe to Shakespeare …

If music be the fruit of love, play ______________________ (what would you most like to hear?)

Meatloaf’s “Paradise by Dashboard Lights,” a campy pop song that reveals the essence of romantic love: it only lasts a minute and can leave you with a lifetime of regret.

What is the greatest love prose you’ve ever read? Who wrote it? Please quote a few lines?

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of the first time Gatsby kisses Daisy. “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

Is your imagination of love – your ability to write about it – greater than your experience?

I would say no. In fact, I think my experience of love is too complicated — too mysterious, wonderful, and difficult — for me to imagine with any accuracy.

Have you ever fallen for a character? Who? How does he or she compare to the real love of your life?

Yes. Lucy Honeychurch from Forster’s A Room with a View, not so much because of her appearance in the novel but because the character was played by a young and beautiful Helena Bonham Carter in the Merchant-Ivory film adaptation of the book, released in 1985, the year I decided to become an English major. Lucy compares to the real love of my life, my wife Sandi Hamilton, rather poorly, since she lacks wit and, for most of the novel, independence, two of Sandi’s most admirable traits.

What are the words that you can’t imagine ever being associated with love?

Viscous, gout, duodenum

With a nod to Yeats – If “love comes in at the eye, how does it go out … (please imagine the rest of this sentence)

If love comes in at the eye, it goes out at the ears, just at the moment you’ve heard, for the seventeenth time, that story about the pony.

Does love have its own language?

Yes, a combination of Tlönese, Jorge Luis Borges’s fictional language made entirely of verbs (so that “moon,” for instance, is “to moonate”) and Pig Latin.

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