The posts about love have been as much for me as they have been for my writing and my characters. So, what have I learned?
Well, to sum it up, 1+1=1. When one emotionally whole person unites with another emotionally whole person, they can create one loving, healthy, happy, bonded unit. It seems so simple, but we have so many poor models of relationships today. I can’t speak to any one person’s experience, but with a 50% divorce rate in the U.S., many of us are watching relationships fall apart before our very eyes. While there are a cornucopia of reasons why relationships end, how many of those reasons are preventable, and of those, how many do we repeat simply because we don’t know any better?
What does all this have to do with my writing? My goal was to show my characters grow in maturity over the course of the novel. In the beginning, the main love interests cannot be together because they aren’t ready to handle the responsibility of a relationship with their soul mate. But now, nearing the end of the book, they have to be ready to be together. While I don’t want everything to be wrapped up in a bow, I want to depict a romantic, functional, productive, and lasting relationship between two healthy people.
I guess that’s what I learned. And I guess that’s what I need to write. And I guess, now I feel more pressure than I did before. Great… The one difference, though, I feel prepared to write again.
A dear friend shared this poem with me. Essentially, this is what I am trying to capture. How amazing that Pablo Neruda can capture this sentiment in a short sonnet, and I am struggling to depict this feeling in an entire chapter…
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
in which there is no I or you
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand
so intimate that when you fall asleep it is my eyes that close
At Last by Etta James is a classic. In fact, in many ways it is an anthem – a beacon of hope that one day, we will all be rescued from our lonely days. This is the perspective from which many a love story is written. In fact, this is the perspective from which Chapter 5 of my book is written. The main character, a striking, attractive, and successful man, meets a woman who is unhappy in her job, has a chronic illness, and struggles with her weight. Here comes this man, ready to rescue her from her dismal situation. Her lonely days are over.
Ok, the story is not that simplistic, and neither is the song by Etta James, but I am struggling with creating depth. What does it look like when two healthy people get together and fall in love with each other?
my heart was wrapped up in clover
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I can speak to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
You smiled, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
And you are mine at last
This is me in a nutshell. “I am a recovering undercover overlover.” When you approach love from a personal deficit, it is hard to maintain balance. I think my characters have been undercover overlovers as well.
My last posts have been about not being able to bring myself to write. Throughout this process, I have had quite a hard time trying to make my characters fall in love. Making characters fall in love isn’t an easy task, admittedly, but I was further distracted by my own break up last year. I was with someone that I was sure I would spend the rest of my life with. Though we were only together for two years, the break up shook my trust in myself. How can I write about finding my soul mate (if there is such a thing) when I had clearly misidentified mine?
A friend shared a clip with me from an interview with Eartha Kitt. She speaks on love and what it means for two individuals to come together. I found it enlightening. I am still meditating on her words so I won’t share my thoughts quite yet. But if you take a look at the clip and have something to share, I am definitely open to receiving. After all, the more I understand, the better I will be, the better I will understand the mystery of love, and of course, the better I will be at writing about it. Happy viewing…
“There is nothing more beautiful than falling in love, but falling in love for the right reasons…When you fall in love, what is there to compromise about?… I fall in love with myself, and I want someone to share it with me.” This is quite a different stance from which I have been writing. It is definitely food for thought.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to write. This evening I started to feel guilty so I figured, if I can’t write, maybe I should read parts of the previous chapters and see how they feel. Maybe I would be inspired.
Most of the writing was only slightly better than terrible. The ideas are there. But the writing… Oh. Dear. God. To think that I’ve shown some of these pages to people is…embarrassing and unbearable.
Yes, I know we are our own harshest critics, but I’m not writing for anyone else. On the bright side, I know what some of the passages need to flow better. On the other hand, it’s very discouraging when I really just want to get through this draft. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but I’m really disappointed with what I read.
For some reason, I cannot bring myself to write. I don’t even want to open a document lest I be coerced into writing. How can the thing I love most also be the bane of my existence?
Meanwhile, I’ve decided to give the middle finger to Chapter 5…
Someday, when my book is published and Oprah adds it to her book club, and J.K. Rowling and I make dates to have tea next time I’m in London, these random rantings of a non-writing writer will gain some context. Until then, carry on…