Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love Big

I like being in love. I like it when my characters find people to be in love with. In my real life, I’ve always been attracted to extreme girls (when I was a boy) and women (now that I am a man with glasses and the ability to grow a fine mustache).


My first love was my high school class’s student council president. She was extremely Irish (both name-wise and visually). She made me laugh. So quick witted. She exploded this crackling humor that would rip your chest open and stab you in the lungs. She’d zing me in American History and I’d be done for the day. Also, she could make me cry simply by crinkling her eyes and pursing her lips (I knew the terrible words she was thinking). I loved her so hard, my stomach still aches. Eventually I rebelled. We had a screaming match early in college, while visiting Dublin, Ireland, her home turf. The argument took place around midnight, outside a pub, and it was so loud and violent, the people of Ireland asked us to go home (true story). We took off running in opposite directions. We never quite got back together. Beautiful! Maureen was a verbal virtuoso. An emotional nail gun. I smile when I think of her, even though my stomach still aches.


My wife, Steph, is 6’1”. I am not nearly so tall. She laughs louder than any human being on the face of the planet. Our house is loud (we often have our four kids here). The windows shake from the noise. And I am seriously in love. One time, our friends’ house burned down (their tenant fell asleep while smoking). This tragedy was compounded by the birth of our friends’ first child, a week before their house burned down. When it happened, Steph drove her Pontiac to Target. She bought hundreds of dollars in diapers, wipes, and toys (totally filled the Pontiac). She quietly (not easy for her) dropped the goods at the apartment where our friends were staying. I got butterflies in my belly and goose bumps on my arms. She’s so good. I am really in love. The kicker, she's an absurdist. For no apparent reason, Steph recently dyed her hair almost black, got a severe wedge cut, and began taking what she calls Goth Mom photos (often with kids in the background doing normal kid stuff). She writes captions that make me snort and choke on my coffee. Her giant-ness makes me glad to be on earth.


I love extreme. I feel love when my characters are in love. In Stupid Fast, Felton’s love interest is a new girl in town named Aleah. The reason he meets her is she’s awake when he delivers a paper at 5 a.m. She’s practicing piano. Turns out she practices all night long, every night during the summer. Even at 16, she’s well-known in the music world. But asked if she wants to be the best, she's confused. She plays piano all night because it rocks her world to play piano. That’s all. Felton can’t help but see truth in her, even though he finds her completely weird (and also very hot).


I think we love what we want out of life. I’m afraid of being asleep too long. I’m afraid that crap will pass me by and I won’t notice. I’m in love with beings that fire energy and say crazy things and make giant things. I'm not sure why, but that seems like truth to me, seems like that's what life's about.


Geoff Herbach

7 comments:

  1. You're wife sounds freaking awesome!!!! Got STUPID FAST on my Kindle, ready to go. *love*

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    1. Oh yeah, Steph is pretty cool! So glad you have SF!

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  2. What a wonderful post and story! I have STUPID FAST and can't wait to read it. I'm going to recommend it to my students who enjoyed Looking for Alaska--another story about a boy in love with a fiery girl.

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    1. Looking for Alaska was the book that made me think YA would be pretty cool to write! I love that big so much.

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  3. Oh how I loved this post, Geoff! I think we all need someone whose presence on this earth will encourage us to say crazy things (in a good way) and dream crazy things (in a good way) an make giant things and live large! This pinged at my heart!

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  4. I've always loved the Grateful Dead lyric ... I need a woman 'bout twice my height Statuesque, raven-tressed, a goddess of the night. Your wife sounds amazing. Great post!

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