True Love

Over the last few days, my wide variety of winter-break reading has included Robert Fulghum’s book True Love.  It is a collection of memories and love stories submitted to the Washington newspaper editor and compiled into a single bound manuscript.

True Love by Robert Fulghum

Fulghum himself admits that choosing a title to fit the diversity of stories contained therein was a challenge.  From my perspective, True Love is a slight misrepresentation.  Not all accounts are marked by selfless attitudes or sincere hearts.  Not all tales are even believable though they make for an interesting and light-hearted read.  This book is, unashamedly, entertaining.  I suspect this is part of the author’s selection process and design.  Some stories are wrought with anguish and drama.  Some are fantastic projections of a once possible but never materialized love affair.  Some are just comical and weird!

If the majority of the book is entertaining, that still leaves a minority of the text that I find inspirational.  So many stories of love lost and found.  Divine reunions, sometimes even decades between encounters.  The common denominator between all of these inspirational stories is longing, desperation, and irrational, unrestrained effort.  I read stories of individuals torn apart, people who lost touch – if they ever spoke in the first place – who thought they would never see their lover again.  People who scoured the pages of their hometown’s phone book calling up anyone of the last name, just hoping they might be a relative who can make the connection with a long lost friend.  I am moved by these desperate efforts because there is a certain mystery behind the search.

True Love was only published 15 years ago and yet the personal stories sound as if they came from another era.  In a way, they were, and a collection of stories such as these may never be published again.  The difference between Fulghum’s publication date and today is the internet.  Social networking in particular.

In the age of computer technology, we might not see someone in years but finding them is almost effortless.  The business of private investigators is extinct.  We might not have spoken with a classmate since high school or college graduation but we can easily know what has transpired in the gap.  Well, sort of.  Actually, we know too much about a person but don’t know enough of them.  The real people who shared their stories with Robert Fulghum came to know their long-lost lover.

Today we have grown so accustomed to social media that we will think these stories to be fairy tales.  Perhaps they will be fairy tales for our children’s generation, the kind of stuff that Walt Disney turns into animated classics.  They will not contain magical elements as in Grimm’s tales, but they will, in themselves, be magical.  Maybe your story may one day be added to that collection!