Monday, October 5, 2009

Plaisir d’Amour - Lynne Sharon Schwartz



Lynne Sharon Schwartz March 19, 1939

The last time I encountered Schwartz, it was for her story “Rough Strife”. I was brief, and rushed in my review of both her story and a deeper investigation into her bio. Lucky me though, she is included in BASS 1979 and I think in a bit we’ll see why Oates chose her.

In researching Schwartz, I discovered that she is and has produced a decent amount of work. A steady stream. 2007 saw the last time she and I would expect another book to come out soon.

Here are a few quotes from online sources that I found need to be reproduced.

"She writes of those things that constitute our lives," commented James Kaufmann in the Los Angeles Times, that "show us how what we do and what's done to us slowly accumulate to make us what we are."

Although Schwartz knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer, she did not begin taking her work seriously until she was over thirty. While working on her Ph.D. at New York University, she realized the time was right: "Suddenly it dawned on me: I was a little over 30, and if I was going to write, I'd better write," Schwartz told Wendy Smith in a Publishers Weekly interview. Realizing that she no longer had to live "the way it was done" she told Smith, she abandoned her graduate studies and concentrated solely on fiction writing.

Schwartz related the key objective of all her writing to Smith: "Beneath all the layers of dailiness, the commonplace that I write about, I really try to get at these things that nobody wants to look at."

I find this last quote particularly interesting especially if you look back at my page on JCO.

Let’s look deeper into the story, Plaisir d’Amour, and what I gained from it.

It allowed me to venture into thoughts again of what my life would be, or what the life of my wife would be, if either of us died and were left alone.

I think married couples have these thoughts from time to time and I believe that they can be healthy...a way to solidify the love that one has for their spouse.

I have thought of what my life would be like without M. I know that I would not be where I am today if it were not for our marriage. My health, my sanity etc. I think that problems with diet, alcohol and just my general mental health would be quite severe.

Knowing this, when I think of the very real possibility of loosing her, and this is a real possibility for any of us, I can become quite emotional. We are such fragile beings, and in this world, we place ourselves in such situations that our lives can be drastically altered in seconds. We wake living in one world and by lunch, that world could seem as if were just our imagination.

I wonder if I would sink into depression. Would I loose my mind, my health...start drinking...what would I do? Would I be strong?

As it stands now, I know that I could never be with another. My life would never be the same. I would have to continue though this daily grind ALONE.

I just can’t imagine it. How we met, the circumstances...there can be only one, and M is it.

I reflected on this subject not too long ago when I discovered that Joyce Carol Oates remarried so soon after Raymond Smith, her husband, died.

I just couldn’t understand it. I always saw Oates as a strong woman...one that would continue through life with his memory. Now, it’s like she just dropped another man into Raymond’s place.

I of course, have no idea what she is going through. It was just so startling to see the new marriage.

The love between Oates and Smith seemed so strong and true. But again, I never saw what happened behind the doors of her house. None of us did.

So, in conclusion, I found great pleasure in this story. It accomplished many things and allowed me plenty of introspection, reflection and contemplation.

Score: 9 out of 10.

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