“Truly, it is only with the unfamiliar that you fall in love; the familiar – you love.”
– Marina Tsvetayeva
How I found this quote. (I just yammer a little here.) :
I pulled out the little notebook I keep quotes in that in some way are striking or, at least, interesting to me because I wanted to put another quote up here on the blog. The notebook fell open to the last page with writing on it, a single quote, and I looked no further. It’s a nice quote, isn’t it?
Honestly, I know little about Marina Tsevtayeva and knew even less when I originally came upon the quote. She led a sad life from the Wikipedia entry (I’ll admit to using W. , but with caution) I skimmed through. This quote is, as far as I know, my first encounter with her work.
When I came across this quote I was at a foreign language bookstore going through a lot of nice laminated bookmarks the store sells with its logo, a nice promotional item. I appreciated all the things writers had said or written in their respective languages that were not the oft-mentioned quotes we hear so often. When I saw this quote, I knew it was special because it was so true. It was one of those times I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down what I saw just so I’d remember in the event that I decided to be responsible and not spend any money. Needless to say, I bought a few bookmarks and didn’t feel terribly irresponsible.
Why is this quote special?
It puts simply what everyone experiences but most of us would write several paragraphs trying to explain. Isn’t it true? There’s a huge difference between loving and falling in love. For starters, the first can be chaste or romantic or exciting or calm; the second implies some kind of abandoning of a previous controlled state of mind. It’s much more romantic, but doesn’t necessarily involve romance as soap operas would define it. You can fall in love with a country, a house, a book, a language…anything you become seriously infatuated with. (Of course, that could be a person; that’s nice, too.) The point is when you talk about loving and falling in love, you’re talking about two different things and use these terms in two different ways.
And familiarity has a lot to do with it, doesn’t it? You love things you’re already in contact with, but it’s with things you’ve only just met…or met again, that you do the falling. I don’t know what context Tsvetayeva said or wrote this in, but this is what it means for me, and I appreciate the poetic synopsis that it is. It’s another one of those clarifying quotes, the ones that make you smack your palm against your head and cry, “You know, that’s right!” It’s another one of those quotes that comfort in a way that relieves you of the burden of ever having to formulate this important idea again in your own words.
It’s a lovely quote.