The Line of Beauty is a Man Booker Prize winning (2004) novel by Alan Hollinghurst. It is a touchstone of gay literature, and though I haven’t read it feels like a familiar friend. I have checked it out of the library multiple times (because it looks good on my floor apparently), and after that many weeks of staring at it, the cover art is ingrained in my brain. I can spot it on a bookshelf at fifty paces and name that plot in four keywords. So naturally this post is not about the book.
Rather, it’s about missing beauty. I miss beauty. And the phrase ‘line of beauty’ makes me think of having beauty in my line of sight, and I don’t have quite enough of that right now, so there you go.
I am craving beauty and I am no longer confident that I live in an environment that can supply the beauty that I want. Sounds so simple. Find the right environment. Find a better environment. If that’s your focus, just go get it. But it’s not that simple. It’s startling to me that this is my new priority. That’s going to take some adjustment. There is a mixture of sadness and fear around the truth that the precious connections which have sustained me these past five years can no longer soothe this particular void; and would I ever have something so good wherever I went. Could the beauty sustain me like the people and places in my current life?
A couple of years ago some of my friends moved out of ‘the city’ to ‘the country.’ I cringed at the cliché. I thought I was in a sitcom. Who really does that? Yet, here I am thinking about it daily. For the record, I’m not thinking of ‘the country’ generic as a panacea for my beauty deficit. There is a particular landscape I am seeking, which needs to occur in collusion with several other factors to be worth sacrificing what I have in ‘the city.’ But that time in my adulthood has come, when I feel like they paved paradise, and I might have to seek some grassier shores.