Posts tagged ‘Heather O’Neill’

July 14, 2017

Where babies come from

I love this description of “where babies come from,” courtesy of Montreal author Heather O’Neill in her short story of the same name in her larger anthology Daydreams of Angels.¬†Read this woman’s work if you have the chance — it is pure magic.

Back when I was a girl, babies were washed up from the ocean when the tide went out. You would see their little bottoms peeking up from out of the sand, and if you dug them up quickly, they would be yours to keep. You had to wake up and get to the beach very, very early if you wanted a baby, because there were always loads of girls at the seashore looking for them. . . .  Once the sun went down and the tide came back in, the babies were loosened from the sand and were swept back out to sea. Then it was pretty much all over and you had to go home empty-handed.

February 3, 2017

Love is what you find at the bottom of a toy trunk

This completely quirky but totally true description of love is courtesy of Montreal author Heather O’Neill in her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night. (Read Heather O’Neill if you can; her work is brilliantly engaging.)

Love is like this small room where a child brings you to show you all their treasures. First the child shows you all the new toys that are bright and shiny and top of the line. But then she shows you all the stuff that has ended up at the bottom of the trunk. There are dolls with eyes that wobble, hair that is falling out of their heads, and dirt behind the ears. Their fingertips have been chewed off by dogs and they have been drawn on with ballpoint pen. It has been so long since they have been held or anyone has told them that they are lovely. They lie at the bottom of the toy chest, hidden and ashamed. You are either going to be disgusted by them, or you are going to be so filled with love for them that your heart almost breaks.

At some point, any long-term relationship will expose you to the bad, the sad and the vulnerable in your partner, alongside the good, the happy and the strong. That is the point when you find out if your love is real.