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(500) Days of Winter
This picture is an homage to one of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie of 2009 – (500) Days of Summer.
Derrick posed for this picture when he was forced to vacate his abode for Girls Night on foggy Saturday night in January.
As it turns out, there wasn’t a blog on Thursday, so here is the love letter from Thursday’s Writer’s Almanac.
There are many prevailing popular perceptions of Emperor Napoleon of France — most of which began as British propaganda. While his name doesn’t often conjure images of a sweet hopeless romantic who pined for an older woman, the letters he wrote to his beloved Josephine reveal as much. In December 1795, he wrote to her:
“I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! … You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours. Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.”
Napoleon and Josephine were married in 1796; he was 26 and she was 32, a widow. He wrote to her from all across Europe, when he was out waging military campaigns. The year they married he wrote to her:
“I have not spent a day without loving you; I have not spent a night without embracing you; I have not so much as drunk one cup of tea without cursing the pride and ambition which force me to remain apart from the moving spirit of my life. In the midst of my duties, whether I am at the head of my army or inspecting the camps, my beloved Josephine stands alone in my heart, occupies my mind, fills my thoughts. If I am moving away from you with the speed of the Rhone torrent, it is only that I may see you again more quickly. If I rise to work in the middle of the night, it is because this may hasten by a matter of days the arrival of my sweet love. … I ask of you neither eternal love, nor fidelity, but simply … truth, unlimited honesty. The day you say ‘I love you less,’ will mark the end of my love and the last day of my life. If my heart were base enough to love without being loved in return I would tear it to pieces. Josephine! Josephine! Remember what I have sometimes said to you: Nature has endowed me with a virile and decisive character. It has built ours out of lace and gossamer. Have you ceased to love me? Forgive me, love of my life, my soul is racked by conflicting forces.
My heart, obsessed by you, is full of fears which prostrate me with misery … I am distressed not to be calling you by name. I shall wait for you to write it. Farewell! Ah! If you love me less you can never have loved me. In that case I shall truly be pitiable.
P.S. — The war this year has changed beyond recognition. I have had meat, bread, and fodder distributed; my armed cavalry will soon be on the march. My soldiers are showing inexpressible confidence in me; you alone are a source of chagrin to me; you alone are the joy and torment of my life.”
And from Friday:
Zelda Fitzgerald, née Sayre, was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great muse and more. He modeled many of his characters after her, and he even included lines in his books that were from letters that Zelda had written him.
The two went on their first date on her 18th birthday. Her family was wary of him, and she wouldn’t marry him until his first novel was actually published. Zelda was still 18 when she wrote this letter to Scott in the spring of 1919:
Please, please don’t be so depressed — We’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever — Maybe you won’t understand this, but sometimes when I miss you most, it’s hardest to write — and you always know when I make myself — Just the ache of it all — and I can’t tell you.
How can you think deliberately of life without me — If you should die — O Darling — darling Scott — It’d be like going blind. I know I would, too, — I’d have no purpose in life — just a pretty — decoration. Don’t you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered — and I was delivered to you — to be worn — I want you to wear me, like a watch-charm or a buttonhole bouquet — to the world. And then, when we’re alone, I want to help — to know that you can’t do anything without me.
One week after This Side of Paradise appeared in print, Zelda and Scott got married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. They became known as the quintessential Jazz Age couple: beautiful, flashy, with money, and often drunk in public. The year they married, Zelda wrote to Scott:
“I look down the tracks and see you coming — and out of every haze & mist your darling rumpled trouser are hurrying to me — Without you, dearest dearest, I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think — or live — I love you so and I’m never in all our lives going to let us be apart another night. It’s like begging for mercy of a storm or killing Beauty or growing old, without you.
Lover, Lover, Darling — Your Wife”