So Right, It’s Jong

Erica Jong, image from ericajong.com

See the sidebar quote? Over there. To your right. From Erica Jong.

Jong is famous as the writer of “Fear of Flying,” a 480-page tome published in 1973. I read it in my undergrad Modern American Lit class.

It was vile. I hated it. Not sure I read the entire thing, yet still managed to ace the test. Even without reading it all, I could guess what was on the next page.

The same thing that was on every page before. A gross account of protagonist Isadora Wing’s promiscuous encounters as she traipsed around Europe. Vile, I tell you.

Quintessential women’s lib. Unrestrained, revolutionary, Boomerish. Must be why my overeducated class of Gen-Xers was assigned to read it. There could be no other reason, save more than 18 million copies in print.

Fast forward to 2011. I’m planning this blog, working on the inaugural post Maiden Flight. Fear of Flying flits across my mind, mostly because of the title.

Here I was, preparing to launch into the unknown in a way I hadn’t before. It could fly. It could bomb. It could lead to something. It could lead to nothing. I was afraid, excited, nervous.

On a whim I entered her name on Brainy Quote: Erica Jong. What appeared next was love in alphabetical order.

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.

Like.

And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

Like. Like.

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.

Will someone please plaster this to my site—and my forehead?

Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are.

Maybe I’ve misread this woman.

I have accepted fear as part of life—specifically fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back.

You didn’t turn back and neither will I.

I write lustily and humorously. It isn’t calculated; it’s the way I think. I’ve invented a writing style that expresses who I am.

And you opened the door for us to write as we are. So I may not care for Isadora’s sexual diary? She may not care for my Bible verses.

Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.

Love.

No one has ever found wisdom without also being a fool. Writers, alas, have to be fools in public, while the rest of the human race can cover its tracks.

Swoon. And she used the word alas.

Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.

Amen, sister.

Solitude is un-American.

Prescient creature spoke the basis for social media decades before we all posted our status updates.

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC

I scurried to the basement, to my boxes of books. Searched for my copy. Alas, it must have fallen victim to an earlier purge.

Checked the library and reserved all her books. Surprisingly, Fear of Flying is no longer among them. Fell victim to a purge there as well.

Her poetry and other books remain. Her poetry is what I prefer, from “Fruits & Vegetables to “Love Comes First.” I skip the sexually loaded lines, as I imagine she might skip the Bible verses if she read me.

No matter. We’re family now, she and I. Grace abounds between relations.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14 NIV

Everyone I know’s been so good to me. Twenty-five years old. My mother, God rest her soul. I just wanna Fly

You Are There by Erica Jong

(from “Love Comes First,” ©2009, pp. 13-14)
 
You are there.
You have always been
there.
Even when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
Even when you were
breathing hard,
you were at rest.
Even then it was clear
you were there.
 
Not in our nature
to know what
is journey and what
arrival.
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
germinating.
 
To live is to be
uncertain.
Certainty comes
at the end.
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2 Comments

Filed under writing & reading

2 Responses to So Right, It’s Jong

  1. Aimee,
    Love this post and to be honest, it smacks of many things I ruminate about daily. Particularly the whole to live is to be uncertain thing. I suck at being alright with uncertainty with every fiber of my being…I guess it is the whole “gotta stay on the straight and narrow” thing I inherited from my Dad. I know that we are all headed for a very similar ending, yet it still burrows into my thought patterns on a daily basis.

    I sure hope I feel somewhat in control when my ticket is punched, but I know better. I would settle for peace of mind about it instead I suppose. Great thought provoking post as always!

    Love ya bud!

    • Thanks, Rodney. Don’t you love that poem by Jong? I was floored when I read it, so I had to share.
      I don’t have much of a stomach for uncertainty either. What I liked about what Jong wrote was the reminder that in the simple act of living, we have in a way already arrived as much as we can here whether we realize it or not. As a Christian, this takes on added meaning. There is a sort of peace in uncertainty when I know with God’s help I am doing the best I can now. I admit I struggle to take hold of this peace. I will never be perfect here. That is the constant tension and longing and failing. But there is assurance of an ulitmate certainty at the end of my life, a new body in a new heaven and earth with Christ. Another difficult concept for me to grasp at times. Hence the need for faith.
      Thanks again for reading and for such thoughtful comments!