Flipping around, looking for something to wile away time, I came across Splendor in the Grass, about young love. I cried at the end, as I always do. Why? Because Deanie, the heroine, tries so hard to be a good girl. And when being a good girl loses her the boy she loves so deeply, then she tries to be sensual. But her being a good girl is important to him, too, because he loves her. She breaks into pieces and when she is back together again, he has moved on. And so has she, driving away from the ranch where she has just met his wife and seen the child that might have been hers. She isn’t pathetic. She is lovely inside and out and moving forward with her own life. But what might have been is there in the car with her and with the viewer.
It made me think again of becoming a woman and of sex and how a girl-woman goes forth to meet that part of her destiny. Before birth control, the complications were huge. But after birth control, I think it’s all still complicated. I know a girl-woman who is so in love with her someone, who loves her back. Will her being able to explore sexuality more safely guarantee happiness? It’s so complex, this journey into a sensual self. Society doesn’t make it simple; religion often makes it sinful; conventionality tries to make it invisible and nondisturbing.
Maybe it shouldn’t be simple. I don’t know. I just know from my own experience that the journey can be so difficult. That journey is often what I explore in my novels. These are the lines from Wordsword at the center of the story:
What through the radiance
which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Through nothing can bring back the hour
of splendour in the grass,
of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind……