Find what you love and let it kill you.

A coloured lithograph of a ship sailing on the sea with a door revealing a sailor being given a valentine by a cupid below deck. c. 1840 
Script under the image reads: 
‘Oh! true ’tis indeed I would taste of the lip -/ That flies from the Cottage & ventures the Ship/ For she who inclines to a Sailor’s own heart,/ In the gale of adversity – never will part./ […]/ Let it blow, and blow hard, my own fond one beleive [sic]/ I will ever be faithful, and never deceive./ In Hymen’s own bonds, no intruder should sever/ And living, love on – yes for ever and ever.

This is one of the earliest known valentine’s cards. and easily one of the most beautiful. I read it to emilyvanhoff (in a strictly platonic, informative way, fools) on Sunday. That last line is really sticking in my brain. Anyways, I found it about two years ago from the Art Institute, and I’ve kind of been sitting on it, mulling it over. And now that I’ve become some sort of feeling monster, I’m really debating getting a drawing of it I made as a tattoo once my felix birds are complete. 

Ships have always been something for me; my (maternal) grandparents’ home was full of pictures of them I used to draw when I was little, probably because my grandpa was in the Navy during WWII, and my grandma sailed from Scotland when she was a teenager as a result of Nazi blitzkriegs. Later on in my life, an important person (who unfortunately ended up drowning a couple years back) used the image of a ship (Mark 4:35-40, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8: 22-25) to explain God to me in the most succinct and meaningful way I’ve ever heard. So the idea of a ship came as no surprise. But this ship, in particular, is both aesthetic but also contextually significant. The last line is nothing short of a beautiful reminder of how much love, especially of the above three people (+ God), has impacted and continues to impact my life, even though two of the three are (currently) deceased, which almost seems to make the words more significant. 

The idea of me liking a valentine shouldn’t come as a surprise; Although I find the modern day ones somewhat cheesy and ridiculous, what they (are supposed to) symbolize is something sacred for me.  I’m not into “hearts” and butterflies and all that garbage. I’m into forever synchronized drawings of clocks, typewritten promises, ships and oceans that know no bounds, and the understanding that that promise, even if you don’t know what exactly is to come, is permanent. 

So sue me.


Title: Quote attributed to Charles Bukowski


2 responses to “Find what you love and let it kill you.

  1. that tattoo needs need to happen. i (currently) love you.

  2. i hung my ship drawing up on my bulletin board in my office with a felix bed, the letter to Ross, that 30 cats crazy picture, and a couple other crazy things/quotes… Joe comes in and goes “*nods* Sweet boat”. I was like “(dream-like) Yeah”. I am so weird.

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