No, not THAT Barth. I'm reading John Barth again, after a twenty-five year hiatus. He of CHIMERA and THE FLOATING OPERA. He's gotten older, mellower, less flashy. He's more reflective, more given to thankfulness. Not really too bad for an atheist.
I'm reading ONCE UPON A TIME. No, I'm not necessarily recommending it. But I'm enjoying it a lot. Here is Barth going on about his marriage:
"...What do I know, having lived with the woman for only twenty-plus years and in the world for some forty before that?...I know that now we're in love and trouble, is about all--the love abiding, the trouble not--and that in this couple's chemistry neither of those precludes the other. Given the closeness of their connection, the differences between them, the amount of time they spend in each other's company, and the very little time they spend apart, these domestic storms used to beset them once or twice per season, interstitched with passionate reconciliation and overarched with indubitable love. In latter years, the love and commitment have, if anything, grown; time, experience, fatigue, and reciprocal understanding have happily decreased the frequency, duration, and damage (if not the occasional intensity) of such in-house blowups. Perhaps for that reason, they have still a way of taking us by surprise: The emotional fuel-air mix builds almost imperceptibly in the house until some spark--typically a thoughtless word of mine, some small thing done or neglected, inconsequential in itself--blows the roof. Our adrenalines surge; each charges the other with initial provocation; we watch and listen appalled as the angry words scarify; we exhaust ourselves in the night (What home-brewed tempest ever didn't rage past bedtime?)...Thanks be, then, that since this pair's early years together such full-blown storms have come to buffet them ever more rarely. Both of them are abler than once they were at containing and deflecting the inevitable frictions of conjugality. Weather the storm you cannot avoid, goes the old sailors' proverb, and avoid the storm you cannot weather. Every lasting marriage follows those advisements..."